The Best Travel Pillow

Sabrina Imbler

By Sabrina Imbler

Short of scoring a row of empty seats—dream on!—your best bet for getting at least a little sleep while flying is a travel pillow.

After asking 10 panelists to try on eight travel pillows and after taking four cross-country red-eyes in window, aisle, and middle seats, we think the comfortable and easy-to-pack  Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the best travel pillow for most people.

Everything we recommend

travel size gel pillow

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

The best travel pillow.

Its tall memory-foam walls let it offer more support than any other pillow we tested. It’s also shaped to sit flush against a headrest, and it compresses to a manageable size.

Buying Options

travel size gel pillow

Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow

A travel pillow available at airports.

This memory-foam neck-support pillow is highly adjustable, but without a contoured back, it can’t quite sit flush with the headrest. It’s available at many airport stores, though.

travel size gel pillow

Trtl Pillow

A pillow for one-sided neck support only.

It’s a fleece scarf with a built-in plastic brace—like a one-sided neck brace, but softer and cozier. However, it’s not so great if you tend to shift position while you sleep, and it costs more than the other pillows we recommend.

travel size gel pillow

Bcozzy Pillow

Great with large headphones.

Featuring an adjustable design that accommodates over-the-ear headphones, the Bcozzy is an excellent chin-support pillow for people who nod forward as they sleep.

The uniquely angled back on the Travelrest Ultimate sets it apart from other travel pillows because it can lay flat against the seat back. Most other pillows have a rounded back, which pushes your head away from the headrest. The Travelrest also has rubber grip dots to prevent slipping while sleeping. This pillow’s spongy memory foam cushions the entire circumference of your neck, preventing your head from leaning far in any direction, and its adjustable Velcro strap ensures it can fit most necks. The pillow’s cozy velour exterior is removable and machine-washable. Although it doesn’t pack flat, the Travelrest weighs less than a pound and compresses to a quarter of its size when rolled into its Velcro-strapped carrying case.

Our only complaint is that the Travelrest’s high walls, while supportive, can push over-ear headphones off of the ears of people with shorter necks. While the memory foam feels plush, it’s also quite firm; this offers excellent support, but not much give. It also doesn’t let you adjust the fit, like our two wrappable picks: the Turtl and the BCozzy . If the Travelrest fits your neck, it’s an excellent pillow. If your neck is much longer or shorter than this pillow’s 5-inch wall, though, you might prefer the fit of one of our other pillow picks.

If our top pick sells out, or if you find yourself pillowless past security, the Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow is almost as good a pillow. It lacks the Travelrest’s angled, lay-flat back, but its U-shape, contoured memory-foam core and machine-washable velour cover still provide comparable levels of comfort. Its adjustable string closure also means that you can fit the pillow much tighter around your neck than you can with the Travelrest, making it a good choice for people with smaller necks or people who prefer a more constricted fit. Additionally, it’s the only one of our picks that we’ve regularly seen in stores located behind the security checkpoint at many airports.

If you typically lean to the same side while sleeping, the Trtl Pillow’s fleece-covered plastic frame provides unshakeable support to one side of your neck while remaining comfortable to wear. It’s basically a one-sided neck brace. The pillow’s cozy wraparound fleece will also keep your neck warm, making it a good choice for anyone who gets cold while flying (and a poor choice for those who sleep hot). But the Trtl’s winning quality is its tiny, packable size. Unlike any of our other picks, the Trtl does not need to be compressed or stuffed into a carrying case. It will always take up about as much space as a PB&J sandwich. (It costs a lot more than one, though.)

The Bcozzy , a variation on the hemi-doughnut theme, is our pick for anyone who wears large over-the-ear headphones on a flight or tends to nod forward while they sleep. The pillow’s overlapping ends form a snug cushion that holds your chin in place far better than do the Trtl’s plastic frame or the Travelrest and Cabeau’s chin-facing gap. While the pillow does not provide great support to either side of your neck, if paired with a large pair of headphones, the Bcozzy holds a head in place perfectly. While not as compressible as our other picks, the pillow has a small loop that can be clipped to the outside of most bags so it doesn’t have to take up space inside your bag.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, how we picked our best travel pillow finalists, how we tested travel pillows, our pick for the best travel pillow: travelrest nest ultimate memory foam travel pillow, runner-up for the best travel pillow: cabeau evolution classic pillow, also great for portability: trtl pillow, also-great chin-support pillow for forward-nodders: bcozzy pillow, other good travel pillows, the competition.

I am a frequent flyer who often takes red-eyes from coast to coast—I now live in Brooklyn but fly home to San Francisco to visit my parents. I’m also an insomniac, so falling asleep on planes has never been easy for me. While writing this article, I tested eight travel pillows on two five-hour flights and slept with our four picks on two more cross-country flights. I also spoke with Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change at the time of the interview, to see what she looks for in a travel pillow.

In addition, my Wirecutter colleagues as a whole are an exceptionally mobile group. We’ve worked remotely from every continent except Antarctica, so I asked some folks on staff which pillows they like and use regularly. (They’ve also since contributed some additional testing.)

A pile of neck pillows on a wood table. We looked for the best neck pillow available.

Boarding a red-eye without a travel pillow in your bag is like choosing to sleep on the floor when there’s a perfectly good futon nearby. Sure, it’s no bed, but it’s a hell of a lot better than hardwood. In an interview she did in 2017 with The Atlantic reporter Kelly Conaboy, Dr. Mary O’Connor, then the director of Yale’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care, said that despite a lack of clinical studies that support the efficacy of travel pillows, “Many of us who travel have experienced falling asleep with our neck in a weird position and it bothering us thereafter. So, I think they can be helpful, but that depends on how they’re used and whether they support the neck.” In other words, using a supportive pillow may decrease the chances you wake up with an unwanted crick. It certainly has in our experience.

However, not all travel pillows are the same, and if you also happen to have a zealous hatred of your travel pillow, you probably have a bad one. So even if you have a generic pillow you picked up at some airport a few years ago, consider upgrading to one of our picks. And of course, these pillows work well on buses and trains, too.

So how can you tell if a pillow is likely to actually support your head? Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow studying sleep at the time of our interview, says the best travel pillows will keep your head elevated and in alignment with your spine: “Look for something that would really be supportive. My one gripe with most travel pillows is that they’re too soft and not too full—you want something that will be supportive as you try to get comfortable in your limited space.” Robbins also recommends finding a pillow that can keep you cozy but not too hot, as she says it’s easier to sleep with a lower body temperature.

Our recommended best travel pillows: The Cabeau and Travelrest pillows are in stuff sacks; the Trtl and Bcozzy pillows are collapsed and lying flat on a table.

Robbins does her best to avoid one common travel situation. “My number one sleep tip is to not take a red-eye if you can avoid it,” she said. “If the flight is five hours, you’re going to only have three hours of true rest, because all the announcements—‘lower your window,’ ‘raise your window.’ Those can be significant distractions.”

We also looked at existing editorial reviews for guidance. Ethan Green , founder of the sleep resource blog No Sleepless Nights, compiled an extensive comparative review of popular travel pillows that we found helpful when deciding what models to test.

For people who want a travel pillow that will ease some of the discomfort of sleeping upright on a bumpy plane ride, we’ve identified the following key features:

  • Comfort and support: The pillow should offer ample support for the weight of your neck and head but not restrict your movements or feel too tight.
  • Portable (but not inflatable): You don’t want your travel pillow to take up so much space in your carry-on that you can’t bring other things you need, so it should compress to a smaller size. Barring that, there should at least be a way to clip it to the outside of your bag or luggage. Inflatable pillows are easy to pack but should be avoided. They inevitably spring a leak, often sooner rather than later.
  • Soft: The material should feel plush against your skin but not trap so much heat that it’s uncomfortable to wear.
  • Universal fit (or as close as possible): The pillow should allow space for people to sleep with a ponytail or accommodate bigger hair, as well as a whole variety of head shapes and sizes and neck lengths.
  • Sleeping styles: It should also accommodate people who move their head in any direction while they sleep. It should also work in a window, a middle, or an aisle seat.
  • Speed of compression/decompression: In case you need to quickly stow your pillow before exiting the plane, or if you want to catch some shut-eye in a moment’s notice, it shouldn’t take too long to stuff the pillow into its carrying case or unfold it to full size.
  • Weight: Ideally, the pillow shouldn’t add undue burden to your carry-on. While inflatable pillows will always be the lightest option, memory-foam pillows don’t weigh much more and can offer significantly more comfort.
  • Grip/traction: Your head will likely move around a bit while sleeping on a plane, especially if there’s turbulence. So any kind of grip or traction around the bottom of the pillow will help it stay in place and keep you snoozing.
  • Machine washable: As you might expect from a vessel that ferries hundreds of people back and forth across the sky on a daily basis, planes can be filthy. So you’ll want to be able to wash the whole pillow—or at least its cover—before you take it on your next trip.

We researched more than 40 travel pillows—which ranged from variations on a hemi-doughnut to inscrutable crowdfunded designs—and after comparing hundreds of glowing and enraged Amazon reviews, we decided to test eight. We asked a panel of 10 people to try each of the pillows in a chair pushed against the wall of a conference room (the closest we could come to airline conditions in our office) and surveyed them on the fit, comfort, and support of each pillow. The panelists all had a variety of neck lengths and jaw sizes, and one even had a substantial beard. We also ran all of the pillows or their detachable pillowcases through a washing machine as instructed to see how well each stood up to a spin cycle and tumble dry.

And because simulations are rarely enough, I brought eight travel pillows on two cross-country flights to see how the pillows felt in the specific back design of an airplane seat. As I was lucky enough to have unnecessarily kind and understanding neighbors (thank you, Mike and Deborah!), I wore each of these pillows in a window, a middle, and an aisle seat to see if they felt comfortable in each configuration. I also tried on Deborah’s Muji travel pillow (as she offered), but determined it had much less support than our picks. I also carried all of our picks on two more cross-country flights on a different airline to ensure the pillows did just as well in different seat designs.

The Travelrest Ultimate pillow, a firm donut-shaped neck pillow, resting on a blanket. The recommended best travel pillow.

The Travelrest Ultimate remains our top pick after several years because its plush but firm memory-foam core offers more support to your neck than that of any other pillow. It’s also one of the few pillows we tested that felt specifically designed for an airline seat, with an angled, grippy back that aligns perfectly to both upright and reclined positions and ensures the pillow won’t slide down as you nod off. The velvety-soft pillow supports heads and necks of all sizes and can be fitted with an adjustable cord and clasp. In the tried-but-true shape of a hemi-doughnut—imagine a doughnut with a bite taken out—the Travelrest Ultimate may look like other pillows, but a number of thoughtful details make it a softer, more supportive pillow than all the rest.

The Travelrest offers better all-around support than any other pillow we tested. Its broad, marshmallowy walls hug the whole circumference of your neck. It feels supportive but not stifling. The easy-to-fasten Velcro strap means it can be adjusted to a snug fit for necks of many sizes. There’s even a small crevice for curlier hair or a ponytail.

In addition to fitting your neck, the Travelrest’s back tapers up to a point to fit flat against an airline seat back. Most neck pillows lack this tapering on the back and the excess padding can push your neck away from the headrest, causing your neck to droop forward. Additionally, the Travelrest has grippy dots on the back that prevent it from slipping.

The best travel pillow, the Travelrest Ultimate, showing the grippy back side.

In addition to its excellent support, the Travelrest is very comfortable and cozy to wear. Its memory-foam core is wrapped in velour, which kept my neck warm without overheating it. The Travelrest’s velour also felt softer and smoother against my skin than similar coverings on other pillows, such as the Cabeau Evolution. It’s also easy to clean: The Travelrest’s cover is easily unzipped and machine-washable. The velour retained its softness after going through a wash and dry cycle.

While the Travelrest isn’t inflatable, it packs down to the size of a roll of toilet paper in its carrying case. Once you fold it cinnamon-roll style and it’s small enough to fit inside the bag, a Velcro strap on the pouch helps you compress it even further. If there’s still not enough space for it in your bag, you can always clip its drawstring to any exterior loop.

All of these thoughtful details were not lost on our testing panel. They gave the Travelrest the highest marks of any pillow in comfort and neck support, and two-thirds of our testers picked it as their favorite pillow.

How the Travelrest has held up

After over a year of use, this pillow had lost none of its supportiveness. The memory foam was just as firm and springy as it was when we bought it. Its velcro strap was still easy to secure. If it fits you, this is a pillow that stays secure and comfortable on your neck for the duration of a long flight. However, we’ve also heard from multiple travelers that this pillow doesn’t fit them. The memory foam is quite firm, which offers excellent support, but not much give. If a pillow of up to 5 inches doesn’t fit comfortably on your neck, we think you’ll be happier trying one of our other picks.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Travelrest Ultimate will never compress to the thin, flat size of a tiny pillow like the Trtl. But its unparalleled, cushiony support can still pack down to a reasonable size, and its 13 ounces won’t make your carry-on noticeably heavier. And if saving space is your highest concern, we think the Trtl provides space-conscious support without the spit-filled fuss of an inflatable pillow.

While the Travelrest’s voluminous plush can support all heads that lean left, back, or right, the pillow may not hold up the chins of people with smaller faces. When my head bobbed forward, my small face sank into the gap between the pillow closure and my neck. You can adjust the Velcro strap for a tighter fit, but the short strap cannot be pulled as tight as the Cabeau’s adjustable strings.

The Travelrest Ultimate’s unbeatable support is in part due to the height of its sides, designed to come up to the jaw of the wearer. This means the pillow may be incompatible with larger over-the-ear headphones for people with shorter necks. For instance, when I tried to wear the Travelrest Ultimate with my noise-cancelling Bose headphones , the pillow pushed the headset uncomfortably far up on my head, taking my earlobes with it. However, my editor, who has a longer neck, didn’t have this problem.

The donut-shaped Cabeau neck pillow resting on a blanket.

If you want a tighter, more adjustable fit, the Cabeau Evolution Classic  (which used to be called just the Evolution) is the way to go. Its contoured memory-foam design offers almost as much neck support as our main pick does, albeit without some of the Travelrest’s luxurious height. But the Cabeau’s adjustable clasp allows a far greater range of cinching than the Travelrest. In other words, the pillow can fit as tightly as you like.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau’s hemi-doughnut shape offers 360 degrees of support for anyone wearing it. It also boasts a cushioned memory-foam core and a contoured top that will keep your neck upright and head in place. But unlike the Travelrest’s gently arched bottom, the Cabeau’s flat bottom won’t sit as securely on your shoulders and may move around during your sleep. The Cabeau also lacks the Travelrest’s smartly tapered, grippy back that helps keep the pillow in place during flight. The Cabeau’s velour cover is also machine-washable, but it feels less soft than the Travelrest’s.

The Cabeau's cover comes off the foam core with a zipper.

Although the Cabeau’s fit and shape aren’t quite as good as the Travelrest’s, this pillow is more adjustable. It can be tightened or loosened with two adjustable strings that clip together, which results in a far more adjustable range than the Travelrest’s short strip of Velcro. If you have a smaller neck and know you find a tighter grip on your neck comforting, the Cabeau may be the way to go.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau also packs down to a quarter of its size, thanks to an adjustable strap bisecting its carrying case. But at 15.2 ounces, it’s a bit heavier than the Travelrest.

Unlike any of our other picks, the Cabeau Evolution is sold in many of those ubiquitous news stores inside airports. So if you find yourself lacing up your shoes after security and wishing you had bought one of our picks before your flight, look for the Cabeau’s contoured shape among the novelty hemi-doughnuts dangling off the travel pillow racks. It’s the best pillow you can buy at an airport. But if you have the chance to order online, the Travelrest offers more support.

There is a newer model of the Evolution Classic, the S3 , which has straps to hook onto a seat’s headrest. We think it’s a good choice if the Classic version is out of stock or otherwise unavailable. It’s still supportive and comfortable, but not as thick or soft as the Classic.

The Trtl is less a pillow and more a plush neck brace.

The Trtl Pillow , though odd-looking and unconventional, won a contingent of ardent fans with its firm support and slim, packable size. But it’s not our top pick because it works on only one side, and its warmth-trapping fleece can cause your neck to overheat. It’s also the most expensive of our picks. The Trtl consists of an arched plastic skeleton inside of a soft, fleece scarf that wraps once around your neck and then closes with Velcro to hold the pillow in place. You just lean your head against the convex end of the bendy frame, wrap the pillow around your neck, and your head has a soft but firm pedestal on which to rest while you sleep. It sounds weird, but it’s not that different from a neck brace—only it’s one-sided and softer.

Because the Trtl Pillow is little more than a scarf with a plastic plate in it, it packs down to the size of a sandwich and can lay flat against the back of your bag. This is the smallest travel pillow we tested and also requires none of the squashing or awkward cinching it takes to stuff the Travelrest or Cabeau into their holding bags, which are also easy to lose. Unlike any of the other pillows we’ve seen, the Trtl is small enough to fit inside a briefcase or handbag, making it the best option for people who don’t normally travel with backpacks. And at a featherweight 5 ounces, the Trtl is the lightest pillow we tested.

Though the Trtl can support your head from only one side, the tall, bendy plastic frame inside offered more support on that one side than either the Travelrest or Cabeau. Yet even with its soft, wraparound design, it lacks the all-around support provided by our top and runner-up picks. If you are an asymmetrical sleeper (if you prefer sleeping with your head leaning to one side), the Trtl may be a good choice. However, it’s not a good choice for people who nod forward—the plastic insert is too stiff. If that’s you, we prefer the Bcozzy, which we talk more about below .

A closeup of a hand holding the Trtl's cover open to show the lightweight frame inside.

Some testers found the Trtl’s quasi-corseted-turtleneck design off-putting. But then again, no one looks cool wearing any travel pillow. And on that note, the Trtl’s cozy fleece will keep your neck toasty. So if you know you run hot, the Trtl may not be the pillow for you.

Wirecutter’s Ganda Suthivarakom swears by the Trtl: “It packs almost flat, weighs next to nothing, and can be helpful for sleeping even when you are stuck in a middle seat. As someone who is always cold on the plane, I don't mind the whole fleece scarf design, either.”

Trtl has a more padded version of the pillow that claims to be more adjustable; one of our longer-necked staffers tried it and reported that it is indeed more comfortable for him than the original Trtl was. However, the same limitations of the original apply to the new version.

The Bcozzy is another donut-type pillow, but it's longer and thinner, enabling a more coiled configuration.

The Bcozzy is a snakelike spin on the traditional hemi-doughnut that’s perfect for anyone traveling with large headphones or people who tend to nod forward while sleeping and wake themselves up. It lacks the tall, supportive sides of our other picks, but the overlapping front is the perfect height to keep your chin from nodding forward as you doze off. It’s not as supportive on the sides, but this leaves ample room for big headphones.

The Bcozzy’s best advantage is its overlapping circular design, which allows you to adjust the pillow to degrees of personal preference. You can place the overlapping ends of the pillow around any point of your neck (though it only really makes sense in the front or on the sides), and wear the pillow as loose or as tight as you’d like. We think it’s most comfortable when the ends meet right under your neck—and in that position, it cushions your chin better than any other pillow we tested.

The longer, leaner Bcozzy lacks the plush, ensconcing neck support of the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau Evolution. It lays so low on your shoulders that it might not even touch your jaw. But this makes the pillow perfect for anyone who likes to wear over-the-ear headphones along with a travel pillow while they sleep on the flight. I personally like to fall asleep to music and drown out the dull roar of an airplane, so the Bcozzy works perfectly for me.

We still think the Travelrest Ultimate is a superior overall hemi-doughnut pillow, but the Bcozzy is an excellent choice if you plan to wear big headphones or know the feeling of that sharp, waking drop when your head falls forward on a plane.

The Bcozzy's small fabric loop for fastening.

The Bcozzy is also one of the least packable pillows, as it doesn’t come with a carrying case and does not compress particularly well. But its 7.4 ounces is around half the weight of the Travelrest or Cabeau, and it does comes with a little loop that clips onto the outside of a backpack or duffel. And even when squished down at the bottom of a bag, it doesn’t take up that much more space than the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau.

If you’re a back sleeper who can fall sleep sitting upright in your seat, facing forward, and not need to curl up or lean your head on the airplane window: You may want to try the Posture+ Travel Pillow, which is a U-shaped neck cushion, padded with memory foam, that looks like the back half of a cervical collar. When testing it, we slept surprisingly well, but it won’t suit all (or even most) sleep styles. It’s also not machine-washable, and it is pricy.

If you have a shorter neck and tend to run hot on planes and would prefer a pillow designed to keep you cool: Consider the ventilated Cabeau Evolution Cool —the combination of a silky polyester cover (similar to spandex) and vented design did feel mildly cooler against our necks. And we liked the pillow’s silky feel, packable size, zippered carrying case. But it was significantly smaller than the standard Cabeau Evolution and the Travelrest Ultimate, and it left the chins of long-necked testers totally unsupported. It’s also more expensive—now about $20 more than the Travelrest.

If you always lean to the same side when sleeping: Consider Travelrest’s All-in-One , which has a novel across-the-shoulder design that could be comfortable in such a situation. It has a similar fabric to the company’s winning Ultimate Memory Foam Neck Pillow, but in our tests its bulky inflated tube offered no structured head support, which could pose a problem in bumpy conditions.

If you tend to be a forward-falling head bobber: Consider the Caldera Releaf , which is less travel pillow and more neck brace. It does offer superior neck support, but it constricted the throat too much for our comfort.

The Trtl Pillow Plus , a later addition to the Trtl lineup, is more height-adjustable and has more padding than its older sibling . Our self-described “giraffe-necked” tester said that it did indeed fit him better than the original Trtl had. However, it still supports your head from only one side, making it not a great choice for sleepers who nod forward. It’s also bulkier than the original and costs nearly twice as much.

The Cabeau Evolution S3 is a newer version of our runner-up pick , the Evolution Classic. We liked it, and we think it’s a solid choice if the original Evolution isn’t available. It has added straps that you can hook onto a headrest to keep your head from falling forward while you sleep, but our runner-up pick is softer and slightly thicker, which offers a bit more support. We did find the S3 to be easier to roll up into its carrying case, however.

Intrigued by one of the stranger innovations that we’ve seen in travel pillow design, we tested the Huzi Design Infinity , but we can’t recommend it. Instead of cinching or clasping at the front, it is designed to be looped several times around the wearer’s neck like an infinity scarf. But the pillow failed to support our testers’ necks. Regardless of who tried it, testers found that looping it twice was too loose and thrice was too tight. It was also the largest and least compressible pillow we tested.

The J-Pillow offered a singular, three-pronged design that proved impossible for anyone to figure out without instructions. After some explanation, our testers could wear the pillow correctly, but they still felt that its squishy stuffing offered insufficient support, and only to one side of the head. It’s also impossible to pack away efficiently due to its pyramidal shape. If you want a one-sided pillow, skip this and go for the Trtl instead.

We tested the inexpensive Travelrest Curl because we loved its plush and contoured big cousin, the Travelrest Ultimate. But while the Curl contains the same luxurious memory-foam filling as the Ultimate, the pillow is so small that many testers found that it didn’t even come up to their jaws when worn. It does have an attractive price, but its skimpy size and unsupportive design could support only the shortest of necks.

We found the air-filled Sea to Summit Aeros Traveller Pillow to be similarly lacking. We liked how easy it was to fill—its dual-valve inflation mechanism means it won’t let air out between breaths—and we appreciated that it weighed only about a fifth as much as the Travelrest, but the Travelrest’s 360-degree support made it too hard to go back to an open-ring design that offers no support in the front. Also, one of our former freelance writers recently reported that when she pulled her pillow out of storage, after a few years of not using it, its internal bladder disintegrated in her hands.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Rebecca Robbins, postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change , phone interview , October 20, 2017

Meet your guide

travel size gel pillow

Sabrina Imbler

Sabrina Imbler is a former staff writer for Wirecutter, where they covered kitchen tools and HVAC.

Further reading

A person sitting on a couch wearing a black Pluto Pod Travel Pillow with the eye mask pulled over their eyes.

Pluto Pod Travel Pillow: A First-Class Sleep Experience in Economy

by Dorie Chevlen

This travel pillow is so great you won’t even care if you look silly wearing it.

The Trtl travel pillow.

The Silly-Looking Trtl Travel Pillow Is the Only Way I Can Sleep on Flights

by Elissa Sanci

You might look funny while wearing the one-sided Trtl travel pillow in flight, but you won’t care when you land at your destination bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

A selection of our favorite gifts for travelers, including Aesop travel cosmetics, a book on national parks, an eye mask, and more.

The 36 Best Gifts for Frequent Travelers

by Samantha Schoech

We’ve put together a selection of fun, useful and clever gifts for that person who always has a trip planned.

One of our testers, in a side-sleeping position on one of our picks

The Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

by Jackie Reeve

We recommend the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow for most side-sleepers. If you prefer a smoother cover, get Nest Bedding's Easy Breather Pillow .

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The 12 Best Travel Pillows of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Sleep and relax comfortably on the go with these top travel pillows

travel size gel pillow

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks
  • Other Pillows We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Tips for Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

Travel + Leisure / Emily Johnson

Sitting upright for hours on end or sleeping on unfamiliar pillows can be incredibly uncomfortable, but a reliable travel pillow can make your trip a lot more tolerable. Whether embarking on a red-eye flight, going camping, or looking to get a good night's sleep in your hotel room, the best travel pillows will be comfy, supportive, and portable. 

We tested more than 40 travel pillows, looking at traits like comfort, durability, portability, and quality. We narrowed down the best options while using the accessory for road trips, long-haul flights, train rides, and even sleeping at home, making sure each option was comfortable for extended use. After catching some of the best Z's, we rounded up pillow choices for different types of travelers who are looking to get more rest on their future trips.

Best Overall

Infinity pillow travel pillow.

Infinity Pillow

The modular design of the pillow makes it easy to use to support the neck, chin, or back while sitting.

The cushioning is fairly soft, so the support isn't as stiff as memory foam.

Most travel pillows come in one shape and size, so we love that this one can contort in various ways to fit your needs. At nearly 40 inches long, the infinity design (yes, like the scarves worn in the early 2000s) can be wrapped once for less support or twice for the type of neck support found in traditional C-shaped pillows. We used the pillow during an all-day road trip and loved that we could wear it around the neck with a looser or tighter fit depending on how much neck support we wanted.

We also found that it's much easier to travel with the pillow since the closed ring shape makes it easy to wear around the neck instead of having to pack it away or risk it falling off. The bamboo fabric is extremely soft and breathable, so we never felt overheated or constricted, and the pillow is machine washable for easy upkeep after a trip. Our only note is that it's not a firm neck pillow like memory foam options, so it's not the most supportive if that's what you're looking for, but it still offers sufficient cushioning for keeping the neck upright. It also comes in a whopping 10 colors.

The Details: Bamboo, nylon | 39.3 x 6.6 inches | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Paige VandeWiele

Best With Seat Strap

Cabeau tne s3 travel pillow.

The seat strap system keeps the pillow in place to prevent it from slipping around or falling off.

It can feel stiff at first and takes some getting used to.

This soft and supportive travel pillow is the perfect accessory for long trips, whether you're in the car or in the air. The pillow itself can attach to any headrest with adjustable straps to prevent your head from sagging or falling into uncomfortable positions while sleeping. There's also an adjustable chin strap for added comfort and security. The pillow's exterior fabric is soft and cozy yet breathable so you don't feel too hot or constricted — though it can take some time to find your perfect position.

We also love that the pillow case is machine washable. We tested this pillow on a long international trip where it really got tossed around on planes, trains, and buses, so it felt great to wash the cover at the end of the trip, making it feel as good as new. Despite its fairly large size, the pillow is also quite portable as it rolls up into a compact carrying case that you can attach to a bag's exterior or slip into larger backpacks and totes.

The Details:  Polyester, microsuede, foam   | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Most Supportive

Ostrichpillow go neck pillow.

The pillow has an asymmetrical design that can accommodate neck, chin, and head support preferences.

It might warm your neck if you run hot while sleeping.

The Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow feels like sleeping on a cloud. This travel pillow provided the perfect amount of neck support and comfort when we took it on a flight, allowing us to get more rest than usual. The plush memory foam filling and asymmetric design can be easily adjusted to support the neck, chin, or head with the taller or shorter sides. The materials appear high-quality and luxurious, and it is easy to roll the pillow up to fit inside its compact drawstring sack. The pillow held its shape after being in the bag for long periods of time, which leads us to believe that it will hold up well with prolonged use. The pillow cover is removable and machine washable, but we air dried it to ensure it didn’t shrink (and had no issues putting it back on the pillow). A must-have for those with higher budgets, this pillow allows for better sleep and more comfort on flights.

The Details: Viscosa, memory foam | 10.5 x 9.5 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Susan Brickell

Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

It’s supportive and firm without feeling too stiff. 

This would be best for travelers who know they prefer a firm travel pillow.

We love the comfortable and supportive Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow for travelers that like a firmer neck pillow. The buckle strap adjusts accordingly to fit around your neck and offers 360-degree support on the chin, jaw, and back. We loved how you can lean back in the car or plane, and the back of the neck doesn't fall backward. In addition to having exceptional support, the Aeris travel pillow folds into a small ball and easily fits into the included circular carrying case that you can clip onto a backpack or suitcase without being a noticeable nuisance. The travel pillow also comes with earplugs and an eye mask, and features a frontal slip pocket that you can store them in. After a trip, you can unzip and remove the carrying case to machine wash it, although we recommend air drying it to prevent any possibility of shrinkage.

The Details: Velour, polyester, memory foam | 11.81 x 11.42 x 3.54 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp

Pluto Pillow Pod

Pluto Pillow

It boasts a cozy hood and built-in eye mask for total darkness even on bright flights.

It's one of the pricer options on this list.

Like the black-out curtains of travel pillows, this option comes with a hood and an eye mask that shields your eyes from any light, which is incredibly useful when you're trying to get some shut-eye on a busy flight. It has a soft neck brace that wraps around the neck with light support, and the hood goes on like a regular hoodie with a drop-down eye mask. Once our head was fully cocooned in the hooded pillow, we found that it was a game changer for travelers who have a hard time falling asleep with light or ambient noise around since it muffles sounds and blocks rays. While the space-helmet-like shape looks quite different from other travel pillows on the market, it's still easy to put on and offers excellent portability. Plus, this newer model features an easy way to clip the pillow to a backpack or luggage handle. One thing to note is that the price point is quite high compared to other pillows on the market, but the unique design and high-quality fabric and construction make it worth it for those with higher budgets.

The Details: Alcantara fabric, WPS mesh | 12 x 6 x 4 inches (folded) | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Dera Burreson

Gingerlily Silk Travel Pillow

A silk pillow is the way to go to protect your hair and skin throughout your travels.

This pillow is 12 by 16 inches, so make sure you have plenty of room to pack it.

For those who love sleeping on silk pillowcases at home, this mini version for travel is an absolute must. Yes, it can be pricey to buy silk travel accessories, but it's also expensive to ruin a blowout and have to find a salon on vacation (and there's no price to be put on fresh, clean skin). This silk pillow is smaller than a standard pillow at 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, but you can still use it in a hotel bed, and it's perfect for trains, planes, and cars — just make sure you have the space in your personal item bag . After using this pillow for multiple long trips, it still shows no signs of loose stitches, fraying, or pilling. Rather, the pillow feels like it will last without ever going limp or flat.

The Details: Mulberry silk, cotton sateen, polyester | 12 x 6 inches

Travel + Leisure / Morgan Ashley Parker

TripSavvy / Morgan Ashley Parker

Best Cooling

Cabeau evolution cool pillow.

The mesh air vents make the pillow breathable to prevent overheating. 

It’s made of firm memory foam.

The Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow is a great pick for travelers who get warm quickly. The pillow is designed to prevent heat from building up when you wear it as mesh vents in between two layers of cushiony memory foam filter in the air. We liked the breathability feature and moisture-wicking fabric and noticed that we didn’t feel overheated while using it on an airplane or road trip. While it took a moment to get situated, once the pillow was in the most comfortable position, it was extremely supportive and firm without feeling too hard. We especially liked the portability of the already lightweight pillow (thanks to its durable carrying case), as well as the mesh pocket for storing small accessories. Even after being rolled up and stuffed into its carrying case, this pillow quickly unfolds back to its original shape.

The Details: Memory foam | 9 x 7 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Best Adjustability

Buyue travel neck pillow.

One side of the pillow has extra cushioning, and you can swivel it around to support any part of your head.

It comes with a drawstring bag to stuff it in, but the pillow still takes up a good chunk of space in a backpack.

With thick cushioning on one side of the pillow, the unique design of this travel pillow makes it easy to get comfortable in a small space where there isn't much wiggle room. No matter which way your head tilts when you sleep, you can adjust this pillow with the largest part of cushioning rotated to support the side or back of your head, or you can turn it to the front to prevent your chin from tipping forward or bobbing around. After testing the pillow on both road trips and long flights, we found that the fabric is breathable and soft for resting your head on, and we love that the cover comes off to toss it in the wash. Because of the thicker side of the pillow, it does take up a bit more space in a backpack, but it does come with a drawstring bag if you prefer to carry it outside of your luggage.

The Details: Polyester, spandex | 8 x 8 x 8 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Ava Wegner

Samsonite 2-in-1 Magic Travel Pillow

It has a modular design to shift from a U-shape to a rectangular pillow, offering versatility at an affordable price.

The neck pillow might not offer enough support for some since it's on the softer side.

This microbead pillow from Samsonite can be used as a neck pillow if you're sitting upright or you can shift it into a rectangular pillow for leaning against a window or laying on a tray table. The handy two-in-one design already gets bonus points for versatility, but the budget-friendly price makes it all the more better. In testing, it was an effortless process to switch from the U-shape to the rectangle shape by flipping the pillow inside out. Made with polyester and microfiber beads, this pillow is shockingly lightweight and feels nearly weightless to carry around an airport. Because the pillow is on the softer side with the microfiber beads, we discovered it's not as supportive as a memory foam pillow, but it still offered enough support to prevent the neck from uncomfortably craning too far to one side.

The Details: Polyester | 12.25 x 11.75 x 4 inches | Hand wash

Travel + Leisure / Anita Rutz

Best Splurge

Purple harmony anywhere pillow.

This supportive pillow is comfortable enough to sleep on at night and would make any hotel stay feel more luxurious.

At over three pounds, it's quite heavy but feels weightless if you attach the strap to a backpack.

If you're looking for a travel pillow that is just as comfortable — if not more so — than your pillows at home, then this luxurious one from Purple is the one for you. It's a miniature version of the brand's best-selling Harmony pillow, and it boasts the same cooling gel and bouncy, neck-supporting feel as the larger version. During testing, we found this pillow to be noticeably cooling, breathable, and moisture-wicking, which can come in handy for camping. We wouldn't use this pillow during flights because of the plush, rectangular shape that wouldn't work well when sitting upright, but it would be ideal when you're laying flat, like in a hotel room.

It comes with a machine-washable pillow cover, and there is a travel case sold separately . Because this is one of the priciest pillows on this list, we do wish the travel case was included, but we do think it's worth adding on for its carrying straps and compression features. The pillow feels quite heavy on its own, but when you attach the strap to a backpack, it feels weightless to carry. You can also compress the pillow in half if you have the travel case, making it much more portable. Although this is a splurge for a travel pillow, we think it's worth the investment for travelers in search of a comfortable pillow with luxe features like a breathable honeycomb design, a moisure-wicking cover, and strong neck support.

The Details: Talalay latex, knit | 16 x 13 x 6 inches | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Jackie Cucco

Best Breathable

Sleep number travel pillow.

Sleep Number

The memory foam filling and synthetic fiber exterior let air pass through for superior breathability.

The pillow is large and was cumbersome to carry, especially for light packers.

It can get hot and stuffy on an airplane, so we love that the synthetic materials used to create this Sleep Number travel pillow are light and airy. The memory foam filling is bouncy and lightweight, and the soft fabric pillowcase is cooling enough to prevent overheating while sleeping in a plane, car, or train. We used the pillow on a long-haul flight to Ireland and found it was ideal for leaning your head against the window or on the tray table since the pillow is on the larger side. While the size offers extra cushioning and support like a regular pillow, it did make it slightly annoying to carry through crowded airports since it doesn't come with a compact carrying case. However, it does come with a drawstring bag to carry it separately or you can use the clasp to attach it to backpacks, suitcases, or other luggage.

The Details: Lyocell blend, memory foam | 17 x 12 inches | Machine-washable cover | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Emily Johnson

Best for Camping

Therm-a-rest compressible pillow.

This mini pillow is ultra-durable and fit for rustic adventuring.

It doesn’t offer neck support like a regular travel pillow.

If you’re not a fan of the typical U-shaped travel pillow, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a great alternative. It resembles the rectangular style of a traditional pillow, and you can compress it down to easily transport it to the great outdoors, making sleeping in a tent more comfortable than ever. The recycled polyester fabric is light and breathable, and the foam filling — made from extra polyurethane foam left over after producing REI’s sleeping pads — provides a soft cushion for your head. We also loved how durable it is, especially for various uses like camping, flying, or taking a nap at home. While the pillow doesn’t come with a carrying bag, it has a toggle strap that you can use to compress it into a smaller size and a built-in cover that you fold the pillow into for protection while traveling.

The Details: Recycled polyester, polyurethane foam fill | 15 x 11 x 5 inches | Machine washable

Other Travel Pillows We Liked

Some travel pillows we tested almost made the cut but didn’t due to a few weaknesses, though they still might make suitable options for some travelers.

Hest Pillow : This standard pillow is on the softer side yet still provides support and comfort while laying on it, but the fabric is slightly itchy, and it’s bulky to carry around, even when compressed.

Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Neck Pillow : While the memory foam is the perfect balance of firm and soft, we found this pillow to be just a bit too bulky for frequent travel.

Travel + Leisure / Daniela Galvez

Slip Jet Setter Travel Pillow : The silk material is luxurious soft and cooling, but the pillow itself is extremely bulky to wear and difficult to travel with.

Snugl Neck Travel Pillow : Made with soft and supportive memory foam, the pillow is ultra-comfy to use in-flight, but we had a lot of trouble getting it back into the carrying case.

Cushion Lab Travel Deep Sleep Pillow : The comfort level with this pillow is so high that we started using it to sleep on nightly at home. However, it's not very portable, and we had a hard time rolling it up into the case.

Our Travel + Leisure team tested more than 40 travel pillows to find the very best ones for every type of comfort-seekers. To thoughtfully curate this list, we researched and tested popular options, including pillows with the classic U-shape and rectangular ones, too.

Paying close attention to traits like comfort, quality, durability, and portability, we noted various features that stood out to us for both good and bad reasons. We looked for special features such as cooling designs, firmness, softness, or other claims by the manufacturer to check if they rang true. Our favorite pillows also kept their shape after being tucked away into a case and always sprang back into their original form with no signs of damage. 

After testing the pillows on journeys like cross-country road trips and long-haul flights, we continue to capture testing notes every few months to update our articles accordingly.

Tips for Buying a Travel Pillow

Prioritize neck support.

When it comes to sleeping in planes, trains, or cars, you should focus on your neck and head support. When your head drops during sleep, it can leave you with a sore neck or even a headache. Your travel pillow should be supportive enough that your neck stays securely upright without feeling as though you're being squeezed.

Portability is key 

Whether you pack light or stuff your suitcase full, a compact travel pillow that fits into a small carrying case is ideal for bringing along on trips. Of course, some travel pillows don’t compress, but they should still be easy to clip onto a suitcase or backpack and not bump into too many things if you’re traversing an airport or train station. It's always more convenient when a carrying case is included, especially if it has a luggage trolley sleeve or straps.

Consider the filling material 

Travelers who like a firmer pillow should opt for a memory foam filling that can offer more support than an inflatable alternative. Microbead pillows can be just as supportive as memory foam ones, but they tend to be on the softer side and are more suited to travelers that like a little less structure while sleeping. 

Think about how you plan to use it

Travel pillows are a relatively broad category, so you'll want to narrow down your intended use and travel habits before purchasing since they come in all different shapes, styles, and sizes. For example, if you often find yourself in the middle seat while flying, you'll want a pillow with lots of head support like a memory foam, U-shape pillow or an infinity style that you can adjust. However, window-seaters might opt for a rectangular pillow for leaning against the plane wall.

Travel pillows aren't just for flights, either. There are also rectangular options that can help make you more comfortable while camping or staying in hotel rooms, rental properties, or even friend's houses that might not have great pillows. They are also a road trip essential for every adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can generally find washing instructions on the tag of the travel pillow when you buy it. Removable covers can usually go through a machine wash, but many of our team members opted to air dry the cover to prevent any shrinkage that could happen in a hot dryer. If a pillow doesn’t have a removable cover, you can spot clean the pillow by using a wet cloth dipped in soapy water.

Most standard travel pillows have a semicircular shape that you wrap around the neck to support your neck, head, and chin. These U-shaped pillows often have memory foam or microbead filling, but there are also inflatable neck pillows. There are unique J-shaped travel pillows that are perfect for supporting the neck and head of someone sitting in the middle or aisle seat. In addition, standard pillows make great travel pillows for certain situations, and plenty of rectangular-styled pillows compress down for better portability.

Most travel pillows will come with carrying cases to compress the pillow, making it more portable. If the carrying case doesn't have a handle, it should still pack down small enough to fit in a personal item such as a backpack or a tote bag. Some pillows have a luggage trolley pass-through sleeve, which you can slip over the handle of your suitcase, while others may have a strap or a clip that you can attach to a backpack to carry it hands-free.

Some pillows are specifically designed to be worn in multiple different ways, but in general, it depends on your comfort preferences. You can wear a travel pillow backward , forward, or you can lean on it in the window seat — the most important thing is finding the most comfortable position for you.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp  is a New York-based commerce writer at T+L, where she writes most of the team's tested content. Anna participated in testing travel pillows and worked with travel editors to determine the results for the best ones on the market based on a series of tests completed during trips taken by plane, car, and train. We will continue to update this article as we test even more travel pillows.

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The 11 Very Best Travel Pillows

Because in-flight sleep is possible, even in the middle seat..

Portrait of Katherine Gillespie

In this article

Best travel pillow overall.

  • Best less-expensive
  • Best memory-foam
  • Best inflatable
  • Best for specific seats
  • Best for sleeping on the tray table
  • Best for traveling with kids

While buying a travel pillow at the airport is always an option, I’ve been sleeping much better on planes since I started planning my in-flight sleep routine ahead of time. A good travel pillow also suits your sleeping position, especially if you’re a side sleeper who tends to get stuck in the dreaded middle seat. It should pair well with a light-blocking eye mask as well as earplugs to drown out engine noise. And the best travel pillows are not only comfortable but also easy to pack — they shouldn’t be a nuisance once you arrive at your destination.

To find travel pillows for every kind of sleeper and traveler, my fellow Strategist travel writer, Rachael Griffiths, and I asked frequent fliers for their picks, then tested those out for ourselves on both long-haul and domestic flights. We also spoke to chiropractors about the science behind travel pillows. While you’re here, you may want to check out my guides to the best carry-on luggage and the best refillable toiletry bottles .

What we’re looking for

First, consider the type of travel pillow you’re interested in: U-shaped versions that go around the neck or traditional flat pillows that have been shrunken down for portability are most common. U-shaped pillows are designed to prevent lateral bending in the neck — “It’s that move to sort of pinch the cell phone between your shoulder and ear,” says Dr. Carla Fischer , the director of quality and patient safety at NYU Langone Spine Center. That bending to the side, she says, is the most important thing to prevent, but not everyone sleeps in the same position or has the same concerns, so I’ve included several styles in this story.

Below you’ll find pillows made with memory foam, filled with beads, or are inflatable — each of which has its own pros. Dr. Claire Fitzpatrick, founder of Bed-Stuy Chiropractic, believes that memory foam is the most “accommodating” when it comes to travel. When I asked her what she meant, she explained that “if you get a medium to medium-firm memory-foam sort of pillow, it accommodates you, but it doesn’t let you dig into it too much.”

When it comes to thickness “the sides should come up to the height of your earlobes,” says Wainani Arnold , founder of the Wainani Wellness Center and in-flight wellness expert for Hawaiian Airlines. “The back of the neck pillow should be flat or only as thick as the distance between the back of your neck to the back of your head (one to two inches). If it is too thick in the back, the pillow will push your neck forward from the chair too much and will potentially dump your head back, which is not ideal for your neck.”


Between a carry-on and a personal item, both stuffed to the brim, finding room for something as large as a pillow can be cumbersome. The most packable among travel pillows are the inflatable ones. Others filled with memory foam or cotton are a little trickier to deal with — but are likely more comfortable. This is a trade-off, depending on how long your flight is. And often, neck pillows often have a snap closure at the front that can easily be used to secure it to the handle of your suitcase.

Trtl Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: No fill | Thickness: Thin | Packability: Easy

This is the travel pillow I use when I journey from New York City to my hometown of Perth, Western Australia. That’s about 23 hours of flying, and I’ll spend at least half of that time sleeping peacefully thanks to the Trtl. This device is like a scarf crossed with an Elizabethan collar and achieves the main goal of a neck pillow — preventing lateral bending in the neck — thanks to the plastic brace stowed inside its padding. You can adjust this brace and choose which side you prefer nodding off toward.

Griffiths is also a Trtl fan. “The first time I tested out the Trtl, I was out like a light,” she says. “The brace’s angle hits just right: There is no sloping so much that your neck bends unnaturally, but it’s supportive enough for you to relax into a decent sleep.” Lauren Maternowski, editor at Pack Hacker, likes that it allows her to fully lean against the seat’s headrest, and former Strategist staffer Rosie Percy also found that with the adjustable Trtl she was “able to sleep through a flight for the first time in my adult life, touching down feeling refreshed and without a crick in my neck.” The Points Guy’s travel editor, Madison Blancaflor, says the Trtl is the only way to survive long-haul flights in economy. And Scott Keyes of Going (formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights) also echoes all this praise: “What I like about it is its versatility. It lets you sleep decently even if you’re in the middle seat, and this one is small enough to easily tuck into your backpack.”

Best less-expensive travel pillow

Samsonite Magic 2-in-1 Travel Pillow with Pocket in Charcoal

Shape: Neck and lumbar pillow | Fill: Not listed | Thickness: 2 inches | Packability: Average

If you aren’t exactly sure if you’ll need neck support or lumbar support, a convertible pillow like this might be your best bet. This neck pillow folds up into a square-shaped pillow that can then be used on your lower back or up against a window. It can also be rolled up into the built-in pocket for storage — which is great for saving space and also shielding the pillow from any germs in the airport. Taryn White of The Trip Wish List tells me it has teeny pockets for earbuds, gum, and mints, a big pro if you usually find yourself rummaging around to find your essentials mid-flight. It has a less convenient hook (compared to a strap) to secure it to your luggage, but the snaps that close the front of the pillow provide another option for strapping it on. I couldn’t track down the fill used in this pillow, but the general consensus from reviewers is that it is “firm but not too hard for me and my aching neck” (according to one reviewer on the Bed,Bath & Beyond website).

Best memory-foam travel neck pillow

Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Memory foam | Thickness: 5 inches | Packability: Easy

I’ll admit that sometimes I cheat on my Trtl with Cabeau’s more traditional-looking travel pillow, which is a vast improvement on the ones you can buy at the airport. It’s a U shape, but with slightly raised sides to stop your head from slumping (and supports your jaw to prevent open-mouth breathing, says travel blogger Carmen Sognovi ). It’s made from memory foam, and it has a flattened back, which allows it to be flush with the chair. This helps your spine align with the chair for more comfort (according to Fitzpatrick). But the best feature is the adjustable strap that fastens the travel pillow to a headrest — which prevents you from flopping forward once you’re sound asleep. Once I’m locked into my Cabeau, I have no choice but to sleep, and I’ve successfully snored away for countless hours while wearing it. I’ll also note that while it takes up more space than the Trtl, the Cabeau stuffs easily into a surprisingly chic circular bag that clips to the outside of my backpack or over the luggage handle of my suitcase.

Best inflatable travel neck pillow

Cabeau Air Evolution Inflatable Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: Adjustable | Easy to pack

The same brand also makes an inflatable version of its travel pillow — and though I generally don’t like inflatable pillows, this one is a good option. It inflates to five inches thick but is just the size of a soda can when deflated. Just like the memory-foam pillow, this one has a flat back to help keep your neck in line with the seat, and it has a neck strap to keep your head super-stable. “They are a bit higher than most neck pillows and have a special toggle you can connect and tighten so the pillow doesn’t fall off,” says Jennifer Lachs of Digital Nomad Girls . Lachs admits that the memory-foam pillow above is “even more comfortable,” but the inflatable is better if you want to travel light. (Initially, I thought that inflatable was synonymous with adjustable — the more air you put in, the taller it will be, and less air will make it less firm — but Fischer said it’s a bad idea to not fill up these pillows all the way, as that’s not how they were designed to be used.)

Best inflatable travel lumbar pillow

Therm-a-Rest Lumbar Travel Pillow

Shape: Lumbar pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: 2 inches | Packability: Easy

Here’s a different type of travel pillow — it’s designed for lumbar (rather than neck) support. As a WFH-er who’s rather particular about ergonomic office chairs , I notice the lack of lumbar support on airport seats whether it’s long- or short-haul flights. “In a proper chair, the lumbar part should actually push out to support that curve in your low back, but they don’t do that on planes, because if they did, it would affect their seating, so a lot of them curve in,” says Dr. Jared Hoffman of Williamsburg Chiropractic . His recommended solution is this pillow that inflates to two inches thick and reduces stress on the joints and discs of your lower back by supporting that lower-back curve. Hoffman not only recommends it to patients but says “this I have used personally and I think it’s one of the best products I’ve come across.” And as it’s inflatable, it’s super-easy to travel with — just deflate and roll into your bag once you disembark.

Best travel pillow for the middle seat

Travelrest Ultimate Travel Neck Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: 3.5 inches | Packability: Easy

This inflatable pillow is worn like a sash, and it gives you something to loll your head against (apart from the person sitting next to you). On a recent flight to Italy, Griffiths chose the dreaded middle seat on purpose to see how well the Travelrest really works. “I’m obsessed with this hideous inflatable golf club,” says travel writer Teddy Minford, who first told us about the unique travel pillow. “It creates something to lean against, even if you’re in the middle seat.” After testing it, Griffiths agrees with Minford that the pillow gives you something to rest your head against — and she successfully managed to get a few hours of sleep on her early flight. Though she felt herself sloping a little toward the side she was resting on, she was overall impressed with how much the pillow improved the usually uncomfortable experience of middle seating. It was also super-easy to transport: When deflated, it rolls up to the size of an iPhone.

Best travel pillow for the window seat


Shape: Head and neck pillow | Fill: Polyester filling | Thickness: 3 inches | Packability: Easy

The aptly named J-Pillow has a main body that supports the crook of your neck and a cushion extending below the chin to stop your head sliding forward. Mercedes Arielle is a window-seat person and says the J-Pillow is best at cradling her head, shoulder, and chin on flights. For Arielle, that three-pronged support is essential “because I rest my head against the window so I can maximize every inch of my window seat.” Griffiths tried one, too, and liked how the chin cushion didn’t extend too far around her neck and the main body of the pillow opened up in a V-shape so she could really wedge her head inside. The material felt more luxurious than the average travel pillow as well — it has a fleecy lining that you can nuzzle down into. It has become her go-to for train journeys, because it’s cushy enough to absorb the vibrations of the tracks. You can compress the pillow to half its size in a carry bag, then use its loops to attach it to your luggage.

Best travel pillow for tray-table sleeping

Ostrich Pillow Original Napping Pillow

Shape: Head pillow  | Fill: Polystyrene microbeads | Thickness: Not listed | Packability: Challenging

Mid-overnight flight, the tray table can begin to look very tempting — but it’s far from a comfortable or stable surface. For some extra padding, Fitzpatrick likes this pillow that’s more like a helmet. It covers all sides, including the forehead, so it can be used in a number of situations. There is a hole for your mouth so you can breathe, but otherwise it’s a pillow, eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones all in one. Once out of the box, however, it could be cumbersome to travel with.

Best pillow for traveling with kids

Huzi Infinity Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Polyester filling | Thickness: Not listed | Packability: Easy

The Huzi pillow, like an extremely plush scarf, can wrap around your neck or lower back — or even both at the same time — to create a highly customized, optimum sleeping position. Writer and mom-of-one Chantel Tattoli says that this pillow is her foolproof method for traveling with her child. She notes it has an almost mystical effect on her daughter on long flights. “Generally, she seems to accord a magical ‘fairy ring’ quality to this fluffy circle, as if once she’s thrown it over her, she’s staked some space in which things are pretty good,” says Tattoli. The Huzi’s design makes it a great pick for those with scoliosis, too. “Even mild scoliosis can affect your comfortable position in a tight seat,” says Fitzpatrick. “The adjustable lemniscate-type pillows can be good for this.” Wearing it through the airport like a scarf also makes it easy to carry, but if you’d rather throw it in your bag, it rolls up neatly into a little ball.

Best travel knee pillow

Circa Air Inflatable Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers

Shape: Knee pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: Adjustable | Packability: Easy

Some people can’t fall asleep without a knee pillow — musician Waxahatchee is one of them, and this used to present a problem when she went on tour for months at a time. Because a plush pillow is hard to pack, she found this inflatable one that she says has been life-changing. It takes just three big breaths to blow up and is surprisingly soft. “I don’t overinflate it — I leave a little bit of air out of it so it has a bit of squish,” she says.

Best stuffable travel pillow

Cosy Collection The Nab (Neck and Bag) Pillow Stuffable with Clothes

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: User’s choice | Thickness: Adjustable | Packability: Average

If you’re flying on a budget airline and trying to pack light , you could opt for this stuffable travel pillow as a way of sneaking extra clothes onto the plane. Jasmine Anderson and Natasha Wilson (travel agents and co-hosts of the podcast Travel Fly Sexy ) both recommend it. “It’s a great hack because you can fit extra T-shirts, shorts, and swimwear into something that no one is looking at you sideways for because it’s a pillow,” says Wilson. And while there are numerous versions of this kind of pillow on the market, I especially like this one because it is covered in a plush fabric for extra comfort and clips at the front for extra neck support.

Some more travel pillows we’ve written about

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

Our experts

• Jasmine Anderson , co-host, Travel Fly Sexy • Mercedes Arielle, fashion and travel blogger at Calculated Opulence • Wainani Arnold, founder of the Wainani Wellness Center and in-flight wellness expert for Hawaiian Airlines • Katie Crutchfield, musician, Waxahatchee • Dr. Carla Fischer, director of quality and patient safety at NYU Langone Spine Center • Dr. Claire Fitzpatrick, founder of Bed-Stuy Chiropractic • Dr. Jared Hoffman, Williamsburg Chiropractic • Scott Keyes, Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) • Jennifer Lachs, founder of  Digital Nomad Girls • Kat Lopez, freelance writer • Lauren Maternowski, editor at Pack Hacker • Teddy Minford, travel writer • Rosie Percy, former Strategist associate director of e-commerce-audience-development strategy • Dr. Rebecca Robbins , sleep specialist and Harvard Medical School instructor • Stella Shon, writer at The Points Guy • Carmen Sognovi , travel blogger • Chantel Tattoli , freelance writer • Taryn White, founder of The Trip Wish List • Natasha Wilson , co-host, Travel Fly Sexy

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments , rolling luggage , pillows for side sleepers , natural anxiety remedies , and bath towels . We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

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travel size gel pillow

Upgrade your next flight with a travel pillow. We’ve all been there: shuffling through first class, begrudgingly looking at the spacious cubicles of the travel elite — the leg room, the side tables, the seats that fully recline into flat beds.

While first class has elevated comfort to new heights, it seems like the rest of us are only losing ground in airline seating. It won’t bring you hourly cocktails, but a good travel pillow can make the best of your travel experience.

The GearJunkie staff’s travel schedule isn’t stacked — we’ll take maybe five flights a year. But arriving rested is important for a number of reasons. We are either flying across the country, requiring a (very) early departure so we can make afternoon meetings. Or we are traveling overseas to a media event packed with presentations followed by a full plate of physical activity.

Either way, if we are not working on the plane, we are sleeping. Or trying to sleep. And we are always flying coach.

If you are trying to catch some winks in the air, outside over-the-counter medication, the best way to make the most of it is by investing in a good travel pillow. Really folks.

If you are spending hard-earned cash on a rare travel opportunity — maybe a once-in-a-lifetime trip — you really owe it to yourself to ditch the rolled-up sweatshirt and spend an extra $40 on a pillow. Feeling rested gives you a leg up on arrival, allowing you to do more of what you are there for … enjoying the trip.

To find the best travel pillows for 2024, we tested 20 pillows, evaluating comfort, support, and ease of transport through the terminal. The GearJunkie staff is a mobile group that has used and enjoyed these pillows. Every pillow on this list is a sleep number champ. After perusing our selection, have a look at our spec comparison chart and read the buyer’s guide for more info. Otherwise, tuck into our list of the best to catch some shut-eye with.

  • Best Overall Travel Pillow: Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow
  • Best Budget Travel Pillow: Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow
  • Best Travel Pillow for Side Sleepers: TRLT Travel Pillow
  • Best Inflatable Travel Pillow: Blabok Inflatable Travel Pillow
  • Best Travel Pillow for a Window Seat: J-Pillow Travel Pillow
  • Best Travel Pillow for Aisle or Middle Seat: Cabeau The Neck’s Evolution S3 (TNE) Neck Pillow

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

  • Materials Memory foam
  • Shape Neck pillow
  • Weight 13 oz.
  • Travel Bag Yes

Product Badge

  • Ergonomic design aligns the back of the pillow flush with seat
  • Best in class memory foam pillow is soft and supportive
  • Great lateral and chin support stabilizes the head in all directions
  • Some compression against the jugular when strapped down too tight
  • Foam closes around the neck entirely, which can trap heat and feel too warm for some

Memory foam is the ideal fluff for a supportive travel pillow. But even the best foam isn’t going to give you the support you need for long-haul comfort if it isn’t formed right. What elevates the Travelrest Nest ($40) above the rest isn’t in what they have added — it’s in what they took away.

Travelrest cut a wedge out from behind the neck of the Nest, allowing the pillow to lay flush against the seat. Slip-resistant rubber pads are printed on the underside, preventing the pillow from sliding off the headrest. Your head remains stable and motion-free without all the bulk behind the head.

Another notch is carved out behind the neck, allowing the back of the head to sit naturally into the pillow. The functional form lets you lean back and rest without having to tilt the chair back, which makes everyone else a little bit happier.

In our experience, many travel pillows don’t support the chin securely enough. We are happy to report the Travelrest Nest fastens around the neck with Velcro tabs, cradling the chin and preventing head nods while dozing off. The combination of form and foam gently secures the head in a neutral position and makes the Travelrest Nest pillow our top choice. 

Out of our four testers, all agreed that the Travelrest Nest is by far the most comfortable travel pillow. And at just a penny under $40, it’s an easy product to recommend investing in for your next travel plans. For most travelers out there, this is the travel pillow to snag.

Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

  • Materials Microbeads
  • Weight 7 oz.
  • Travel Bag No

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Inexpensive option
  • Good for side sleepers
  • Dual-sided microfleece or spandex cover for temperature regulation
  • Large volume behind the neck requires you to rotate the pillow to the side to sleep.
  • No pillowcase or travel bag

Better than the stock pillow provided by the airline, and many sleeps beyond the sweatshirt stuffed behind your neck, the Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow ($16) is a small investment for better sleep on the go.

The top of the pillow is soft microfleece with soft, cooling spandex on the underside. Inside, the hemi donut-shaped pillow is filled with small foam microbeads. Think of it as a fleecy beanbag pillow for your neck. 

This is a great starter pillow for those who are considering getting a travel pillow, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. You need to know it’s going to be a little limiting though. 

The back of the pillow has a lot of fill, which is OK if you just want some support while reading or binging the latest inflight entertainment. But it’s too much pillow behind the neck if you want to get some sleep. 

We found we had to rotate the pillow 90˚, shifting the bulk of the pillow to the side. This also turns the notch to the side, which does two things. It supports the chin better, and it supports the head pretty well for side sleepers. It does expose the other side to nodding off and down to the side, so choose your side wisely.

The microbead fill is louder than other synthetic lofts, and over time, the microbeads can collect dirt and grime. Since there is no pillowcase, you will have to either spot-clean this pillow or risk washing the entire pillow in a washing machine (on gentle and in a delicates bag). But for 16 bucks, the Microbead Travel Neck pillow gets a lot of things right and is our bargain pick for travel pillows.

TRLT Travel Pillow

  • Materials Fleece scarf with internal plastic frame
  • Weight 4.25 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Small and compact pillow
  • Removable case
  • Supportive for head bobbers
  • Light weight
  • Looks like a neck brace
  • Caused some mid-back pain on longer flight

The TRTL Travel Pillow ($60) is a quirky-looking little pillow that caught our tester’s attention because they are a side sleeper, and a bit of a head bobber. If this describes you, it’s a familiar story: As soon as you start to fall asleep, your head drops and jolts you awake, beginning a rinse-and-repeat cycle of catching interrupted micro naps. 

That’s all in the past with this pillow, which has an internal plastic frame that sits over the shoulder and wraps around the neck up toward the ear. You instinctively lean into the structure, and it cradles the head from the side. 

A microfleece scarf fastens over the chin and around the neck, gently locking the head in place. It works so well that our tester realized their head began to gradually float off the chairback without dropping the chin. It’s an odd sensation, and you can fix this by tilting the seat back slightly, allowing gravity to do what it does best. 

The TRLT is a small, compact pillow that is easy to maintain. The pillowcase unzips off the frame and can be thrown in the wash. The downside is it looks a bit like a neck brace, and we found the plastic scaffolding can push up against the ear. We also found that while it stabilizes the neck, the stabilizing force was oddly distributed down the chain to the middle of the back, causing some dull pain on longer flights.

Overall, the TRTL Travel Pillow offers a simple solution that’s easy to maintain. It’s a bit pricey, but we feel the simplicity and function warrant the price.

Blabok Inflatable Travel Pillow

  • Materials Vinyl with air
  • Shape Head pillow
  • Weight Unknown

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Inexpensive
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Comes with eye mask and ear plugs
  • Incurs funny looks

Our reviewer ordered the funky-looking Blabok Inflatable Travel Pillow ($25) as a last-minute addition to an international flight, where she knew she would be spending some serious sleep hours on the plane. 

“In the past, I’ve quietly giggled to myself when seeing travelers dutifully blow into their airport comfort balloons, but I’m a convert. Through flight delays, layovers, and crazy long flights, I ended up singing the praises of this thing!”

It not only gives you multiple positions to support your head and neck during a flight, but during layovers, it is a solid napper in quiet terminal corners. Armholes allow comfortable positioning, and the open, airy internal chamber means you can breathe easily while face down in the pillow. And to our surprise, it’s shockingly easy to inflate. A few breaths, and you’re good to go.

The Blabok pillow deflates just as fast and rolls up tiny, making it our favorite inflatable travel pillow and our preferred travel pillow for long flights. Bonus tip: Because of its shape, if you have sore legs/hips from your adventures, it can be used as a knee support pillow. Funny looks be damned, we’re sleeping better than anyone else on the Blabok Inflatable Travel Pillow .

J-Pillow Travel Pillow

  • Materials Polyester fill
  • Shape Head and neck pillow
  • Weight 11 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Great for side sleepers who lean against a wall
  • Chin support spots you from leaning forward
  • Soft microfleece cover
  • Only supports one side of the head
  • Doesn't compress down as well as memory foam

Not your traditionally shaped travel pillow, the J-Pillow Travel Pillow ($50-60) has three dimensions that cradle the head and neck in an X, Y, and Z axis. The head leans into the large flaps, with the ‘J’ tail wrapping under the chin. It gives the neck mild support and prevents the head from dropping forward.

As you would suspect from a pillow you lean into, the J-Pillow is ideal for those who have a window seat, where you can catch some winks against a wall. One side is completely unsupported, so if you are the type of sleeper who tosses a bit and occasionally leans the other way, your sleep might get disrupted.

We found this more of a problem when seated in the aisle or middle seat. Seated next to the window, we could lean into the pillow with the added confidence of uninterrupted sleep.

The J-Pillow is filled with a polyester loft. It’s not as firm as memory foam, and it doesn’t run as warm either. That’s partly because the structure only cradles half the head. The airflow is decent, and with the airplane vent aimed at us, this pillow keeps things cool.

No removable cover to be found here, and you toss the entire pillow in the wash — which isn’t a bad thing. It ensures the entire pillow is cleaned. The pillow crushes down to a small, travel-friendly size and carries in the provided stuff sack. 

Despite the quirky design, the J-Pillow is a comfortable and supportive option — especially if you like to sit tucked away in a window seat.

Cabeau The Neck’s Evolution S3 Neck Pillow

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Best in class memory foam comfort
  • High lateral walls for maximum head support
  • Seat straps holds pillow to the chair
  • Over-the-top elastic strap supports chin and keeps mouth closed
  • Raised side supports feel bulky and adds pressure around the neck
  • With straps, this is a more fidgety travel pillow and takes time to set up

No matter how good the pillow, it’s hard to prevent the dreaded head bob. Even Cabeau — the grandmaster of travel pillows — couldn’t get around this. This matters most when seated in the aisle or middle seat, where personal space is limited. To that end, Cabeau released The Neck’s Evolution S3 ($50). The secret sauce? Straps — lots of them.

A pair of vertical straps tack the pillow to the seat back, cutting the bobble off at the head. If the pillow doesn’t move, you don’t move. The third, elastic strap, wraps over the pillow’s horseshoe ends (not out in front), fastening to the opposite side. Wrapping over the pillow, the strap is, in essence, a hammock for your chin. It keeps the chin up and prevents the head from nodding forward.

What we love about this design is that it 1) immobilizes the chin just enough without feeling too rigid, and 2) leaves the front of the pillow exposed, allowing the neck to cool off. This is important because memory foam can really trap the heat. With the small gap, the pillow spills heat, keeping you feeling cooler. It’s kind of genius.

The memory foam is the softest we tested. It is even softer than the Travelrest Nest (which is made from very good, resilient foam). We did find the amount of foam significant and noticeable. The sidewalls ride up to just below the ears. If you end up slouching in your chair (or have a shorter neck), this is pronounced and you feel the foam pushing into the ears and around the neck. This can become uncomfortable over time. 

The pillow rolls up tight and packs in a zippered pouch. And if all this isn’t enough, Cabeau threw in a pair of earplugs to help cancel out the noise. All in all, at just under $50, the Cabeau The Neck’s Evolution S3 is an excellent neck pillow and a good alternative to the Travelrest Nest .

Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Pillow

  • Shape Neck Pillow
  • Weight 10.5 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Asymmetrical design rotates 360˚ to fit a variety of sleep positions while seated
  • Accommodates over the ear headphones
  • Small packed size and comes with a travel bag
  • Available in two different sizes
  • Low sides do not provide as much lateral support
  • Snug fit can be too tight

One of the best advantages you can give yourself while traveling is options. The asymmetrical shape of Cushion Lab’s Ergonomic Travel Pillow ($55), allows you to turn the pillow around your neck to match the seating requirements. 

Flat on the underside, the top of the pillow rolls between 2.5 and 5 inches, with three different notches that you can position under the chin and behind the head. Window, middle seat, aisle … the variety allows you to find the best sleeping position for any seat.

The memory foam pillow is protected by a form-fitting pillow case with an elastic cord that keeps the pillow packed tight. It all packs away nicely in a small widemouth ditty bag that is easy to pack and unpack. 

The extra-dense memory foam is stiffer and similar to what we found in the Ostrich Go Neck . While the Go Neck is perhaps more stylish, the third notch gives the Ergonomic Travel Pillow one more option to find the perfect position — and the upper edge between the two. 

We also like Cushion Lab’s overall lower profile. It allows you to wear over-the-ear headphones and feels less restrictive without compromising head and neck support. The Ergonomic Travel Pillow lives up to the name and allows for fine-tuning your fit to match your travel circumstances perfectly.

Ostrich Go Neck Pillow

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Asymmetrical sides allow you to rotate the pillow into multiple positions to match the seating
  • Crushes down small
  • Washable removable cover
  • Dense memory foam has excellent support
  • High sidewalls press into ears
  • Wrapping design holds heat

Another innovator in the travel pillow space, Ostrich brings disruptive designs that are both functional and fun. The Go Neck Pillow ($70) is a stylish memory foam “shawl” that secures around the neck with a hook-and-loop closure. The wave-like shape has a lower, plumper cushion that rises and narrows behind the neck before it crests to a taller, thinner pad. The asymmetrical cushions narrow and close together with a 5-inch Velcro tab.

You can rotate the Go Neck to match a variety of positions, but we really only found two that work — with the chin between the fold where the two flaps come together, or 180˚ backward, with the chin tucked in the other narrowing. The pillow feels more comfortable with the overlap in front, but the reverse is slightly taller and supports the chin well.

While ergonomic (and perhaps even beautifully designed) the foundation of the Go Neck is a stiffer memory foam. It isn’t as soft as either the Cabeau or Travelrest pillows. The firmness is supportive, but can feel more rigid and less forgiving over time. Plus it’s about $20-$30 more than our top pillows, which excludes it from what we feel are better bargain options.

BCOZZY Neck Pillow

  • Weight 8 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Adaptive design rotates around the neck to give you support where you need it
  • Allows plenty of ear room for those who wear over-the-ear headphones
  • Fully machine washable
  • Four different size variations available
  • Takes a while to position it right
  • Snug wrapping design can get hot

Many travel pillows are available in a one-size-fits-all option, which means if it doesn’t fit you, it doesn’t work at all. So when a travel pillow comes in a variety of sizes that can be configured to match a variety of seating options, our interest is piqued.

Bcozzy’s Neck Pillow ($45-60) snakes around the neck, overlapping the ends with a long Velcro hook and loop closure. The long, skinny pillow undulates with alternating hourglass narrows and plump supportive pads. Available in four sizes (two youth, two adults) there’s a Bcozzy for everyone. And, you can rotate the pillow 360˚ around the neck to give you support where you need it. 

Side leaner? Rotate the overlapping ends under the ear and lean into the pillow. Middle seat? Position the narrow section behind the neck and support the chin with the overlapping ends. Departing the plane? Just loosen up the Velcro tabs and wear it off the plane. Compared to other pillows, it wears relatively under the radar and is easy to use.

The Bcozzy doesn’t have a removable pillowcase. Instead, you toss the whole thing in the washing machine to wash the entire pillow. It is recommended that you put it inside a delicates bag or a tied-off pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle. This prevents the machine from breaking down the polyester fibers.

The Bcozzy Neck Pillow isn’t the cheapest pillow on our list, but with the right size, it is very easy to use and works in virtually any seated position, making this one of the more versatile travel pillows on our list.

Honeydew Sleep Company Scrumptious Travel Pillow

  • Materials Copper infused cooling memory foam
  • Weight 2 lbs., 8 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • You can add or remove fill to match your desired firmness
  • Hand-made in U.S.A.
  • Bulky to carry
  • Large size forces chin to drop even with the seat tilted all the way back

Take your favorite pillow from home, shrink it by 30%, and cut a wedge in it so it curves around the neck, and you’ve got Honeydew’s Scrumptious Travel Pillow ($130-220). 

The memory foam fill is shredded into small pieces, giving it a soft and even fluff. Infused with copper, it’s antimicrobial and helps keep the body cool. The downside is that it doesn’t pack down as well.

Stuffed inside the provided cotton sack (included), the pillow carries around at a bulky 9 x 12 inches. That’s partly the foam, but there’s no getting around — it’s a lot of pillow. Unpacked, the Scrumptious is a whopping 12 x 21 inches. 

A crescent-shaped notch lays behind the neck and over the shoulders, allowing you to lean back into the pillow. But it wasn’t enough to prevent our chins from dropping. Even with the seat pushed all the into the furthest position, the mass of the pillow pushed our heads forward. We found it hard to prevent the chin from dipping down as we dozed. 

The Scrumptious is big and not all that comfortable while on the plane. But once we arrived at our destination, we stored the hotel pillow in the closet and used the Scrumptious instead. The soft and even proprietary fill is better than our pillows at home and gives us a better night’s rest while on the road.

You just need to be prepared to carry the extra baggage with you as a carry-on, or find room for the pillow in your bags. For the comfort the Honeydew Scrumptious Travel Pillow provides, however, it’s worth finding the space.

Sea To Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow

  • Materials 20-denier polyester face fabric, TPU air bladder
  • Weight 3 oz.
  • Travel Bag 3 x 4 x 2" soft-sided case

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Truly lightweight and compact travel pillow
  • Three chin snaps fit multiple neck sizes
  • Narrows at the middle to accommodate for neck tilt
  • Expensive for an air pillow
  • Lacks support of a foam pillow
  • Little to no chin support

Sea to Summit has been making some of our favorite camp pillows for years. In fact, the Aeros Ultralight is our go-to pillow for most of our adventures where weight is critical. If an inflatable pillow can handle what the Rockies, Cascades, and all the associated climbing gear can throw at it, we feel confident it can handle the threats faced in coach.

Made specifically for traveling, the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow ($45) is a crescent-shaped version of their inflatable camp pillow. The poles of the kidney-shaped pillow inflate out over the shoulders and snug up against the neck just below the ears, tapering behind the neck between the two poles.

The pillow snaps together securely under the chin with three snap options. We like how the snaps provide more security than Velcro. From kids to weightlifters, the options fits a variety of neck sizes. Unfortunately, the Aeros doesn’t support the neck as well as memory foam. Both side-to-side and chin support were less stable than the memory foam counterparts. 

And at $45, you aren’t getting a better deal. You are buying a lack of space. The Aeros packs down to the size of a deck of cards or two and weighs in at a welterweight 3 ounces, which is how most ultralight investments work. You don’t buy comfort; you buy room in the pack. 

This makes the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller an option for gram-counting travelers who feel strongly that comfort is a luxury. It also works as a good backup travel pillow or if you are carrying for two and need to carry a barebones backup pillow. If an airline weight limit is giving you the business, this is the pillow to grab.

Hest Travel Pillow

  • Materials Cut up memory foam, stretch-woven nylon cover
  • Weight 1 lb., 4 oz.

The Best Travel Pillows of 2024

  • Stuffs and zips up into into itself with durable outer carrying case
  • Soft and incredibly comfortable foam fill
  • Mimics the feel of a full-size pillow
  • Soft pillow case is purchased after market
  • Some users find the cut up memory foam feels lumpy

The Hest Travel Pillow ($75) is billed as both a camping and travel pillow. It is a small, 10 x 15-inch rectangular pillow with some overbuilt upgrades that make it probably a better (read: heavy) option for traveling over camping. 

The entire pillow is carried inside a water-resistant nylon shell, which reminds us of a hearty ski jacket denier. Unzip the outer shell and the pillow pulls inside out with a softer stretch woven material. Another zipper reveals the inner pillow — which you can remove and throw the case in the wash for cleaning.

The memory foam is doughy soft and a good upgrade from most camp pillows. But it’s also more expensive. At $75, it’s creeping into a serious sleep investment. While the stretch woven pillow liner is soft, Hest sells an even softer aftermarket pillowcase, but you will have to open the wallet a little more and pay an additional $20.

A rectangular memory foam pillow is the closest approximation to a pillow from home and it works great in a pinch catching a nap in the terminal or as a backup pillow at the hotel if the provided pillows look suspicious. 

For overall comfort, we prefer the modified rectangular pillow from Honeydew . The brand’s Scrumptious Pillow is divine. But for overall packability and travel-friendly size, we prefer the Hest Travel Pillow , which crunches down to about 1.5 L (and costs half the price of the Scrumptious).

Travel Pillow Comparison Chart

How we tested travel pillows.

travel size gel pillow

The GearJunkie staff gets around. At least one of us is in the air during any given week traveling on assignment — so we’ve logged the miles, all of them in coach, and many of these clocked across the Atlantic or Pacific. The redeye may be effective, but it also means if we don’t get our rest, we are up for a very long following day. To make it all work, the GearJunkie staff gets by on coffee… and travel pillows.

Like your pillow at home, a travel pillow should support the neck and be comfortable. Since it’s for use on the road, it should also pack up small so we can either wear it to our connecting flight or securely clip it to our carry-on luggage or travel backpack without whacking other travelers.

To test pillows, we evaluated fill materials and took note of how pillows supported the neck. Did it limit head bobble and keep the neck aligned? Or were we woken up nodding forward? We evaluated how soft the outer material is, and if we could remove and wash the case during or after our travels.

In our search, we aimed to find and test pillows that every person stuck in coach across the spectrum could enjoy — from window, aisle, to middle seat (be damned), we chose for travelers marching gate to gate with pillows around necks or strapped to our luggage.

We take testing seriously and the testing doesn’t stop here. As new travel pillows hit the market, we’ll be lining up with the rest of you and continue to test, ensuring that our lineup is as fresh as walking into customs at 7 a.m.

Steve Graepel has worked at GearJunkie as a contributing editor since 2009, testing everything from packrafts, to bike bags, cycling bibs, sleeping bags, winter boots, trail runners, and travel pants . Many of these stories require travel to meet with manufacturers and test gear in real-world conditions. Between testing, Steve is always striving for the perfect sleep score. His personal best is 87.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Travel Pillow for You

Travel pillow design and fill.

The overall goal of a travel pillow is to support the head for uninterrupted rest. Travel pillows get this done with designs that contour around the body’s shape and close the gaps by molding the pillow’s fill to the head and neck. Together, the shape and fill keep everything comfortably in alignment.

travel size gel pillow

Not all pillows are created equal. That’s because not all seats are the same. While you can lean your head against the wall in a window seat, you are stuck sleeping upright in an aisle or middle seat. Bobblehead sleepers might give in and drop into the tray for uninterrupted sleep.

If you can select your seat in advance, you can better predict the best pillow to bring. But we’re not always that lucky (nor that good at planning) so it might be helpful to have a few pillows available to match your assigned seat, or pick a good all-rounder travel pillow that works in a variety of seating.

Most travel pillows are horseshoe-shaped and wrap around your neck. The semicircular shape keeps the head from wobbling too much and maintains neck alignment. This design works well in almost every seat, as long as you don’t mind sleeping upright.

Side sleepers might prefer some structure to support the neck or padding that accommodates leaning against a wall. The downside is your head can still slide off the unsupported side and nod forward.

The rectangular pillow is your traditional camp pillow. Tried and true, these down, synthetic, or even air-filled pillows can be a little bulky, but don’t rule them out. They are a great option for table sleepers and window leaners, and are miles ahead of your down jacket when trying to catch some zzz’s between flights on the terminal floor.

A more updated window seat option is the J-Pillow . Winner of the British Invention of the Year, the J-Pillow offers head, neck, and chin support, and can flip sides, making it a good option for windows.

Memory Foam

travel size gel pillow

One of the many wonders that came out of NASA, memory foam was developed in the 1960s. It is a viscous polyurethane that crushes down small and bounces back with hearty resilience. Recently, memory foam has become the online mattress wonder-kid, bringing mattress stores to their knees by selling directly to consumers.

We also see a lot of memory foam used in the latest camp mattresses and camp pillows. The benefit is that it forms to the body, cradling the head and neck with support. It’s a durable and comfortable fill and is a good choice for people who take sleeping seriously.

The downside is that when crushed, the foam is constantly trying to expand. To keep the pillow packed down, you need to stuff it in the stuff sack (usually sold with the pillow). And even packed, it’s always going to take up some space. A good insulator, foam will also retain heat more than other insulations. If you are a hot sleeper, consider options with cooling covers and venting designs.

Some memory foams are shredded or cut into small pieces. The foam lofts evenly but doesn’t crush down as small as the solid memory foam pillows. Both Hest and Honeydew offer shredded memory foam pillows. Both brands are also traditional rectangular-shaped pillows that mimic your pillow from home.

As the name implies, microbeads are small, round beads that are used to loft the pillow. To clarify, we aren’t talking about the microspheres smaller than one millimeter that are banned in North America. These are the larger, beanbag fill that shift inside the pillow to fill in otherwise awkward spaces while distributing pressure on the head and neck.

If you’ve ever spent much time sitting in a bean bag chair, you already know the downside. A microbead pillow can be comfortable out of the gate, but over time the microbeads shift and feel more uncomfortable. You might find yourself waking up and readjusting the pillow during your flight.

A firmer, stuffed microbead pillow will provide more support, and microbead pillows are usually less expensive. The only microbead pillow on our list is the Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow . At $16, it’s a bargain and works better than other microbead pillows we’ve tested.

Down and Synthetic Fill

The rectangular synthetic (or down) fill pillow is your old-school camp pillow. While down compacts more, both synthetic and down rectangular pillows can be a little bulky, and since they typically don’t clip to your luggage or wrap around your neck, you inevitably need to carry them around in your hands.

But don’t rule them out — they are a great option for table sleepers, as they fill in the gaps against the window, and are miles ahead of your down jacket when trying to catch some zzz’s between flights on the terminal floor. Plus, you can use them camping or at the hotel if the provided linens look debatable.

Inflated Air

travel size gel pillow

Pillows have come a long way, but some technology doesn’t need to be fixed. The inflatable pillow supports through design of the shell that wraps around the neck. An inflatable camp pillow is great for using on extended backcountry trips. They pack down small and disappear in the pack.

In general, inflatable pillows aren’t as comfortable. They tend to be firmer than foam pillows and don’t snug and support as well as their memory foam counterparts. And they can be prone to punctures, which makes them useless if that happens in flight.

Look for inflatable pillows that are made up of durable material, like thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or one that comes with a rugged cover. Valves can also be a weak point on an inflatable pillow. Make sure the one you buy has a tough, well-built valve that isn’t prone to leaking. And ask around — fellow travelers and online reviews are your best resources for gauging a pillow’s durability over time.

All said, we found the inflatable travel pillow from Blablok one of the most comfortable pillows we’ve ever used. It’s massive but compresses down to a small package — one of the benefits of inflatable pillows.

With a travel pillow, a huge part of durability is inside the pillow. With proper care, a pillow filled with either microbeads, polyester fill, or memory foam can last for several years.

However, after repeated use, memory foam tends to be more durable and resilient than microbeads. It doesn’t flatten or get lumpy and is more resistant to collecting dust. So memory foam might be the better option if you want a long-term solution. We generally find memory foam to be more supportive, too.

In general, the more features a pillow has, the higher the price will be. We see this with well-established companies like Cabeau, which use high-quality memory foam and invest time in R&D to develop cooling vents and stabilization seat straps. While more expensive, these products are more dialed, durable, and comfortable designs.

When you shop for a pillow, determine your must-have features, weigh them against your style of sleep, look at your budget, and find a travel pillow that’s best for you. If you’re new to travel pillows and still trying to figure out what kind of pillow you want, consider what you don’t like with the complimentary pillow you get before takeoff. After all, it’s free and a great way to test a pillow with low commitment.

With that baseline, swing back by our buyer’s guide and look at what pillows work best to meet those gaps in your needs. In the end, a travel pillow shouldn’t cost more than $60. It’s a drop in the bucket for a better travel experience.

Packed Size

travel size gel pillow

The ‘packability’ of a travel pillow matters less than it does for a camping pillow. But it still matters, and this point will be salient when you are boarding and departing the plane. If it wraps around your neck, you can suck it up and try to stylishly pull it off (don’t worry, nobody can). If it has a stuff sack, you can compress it (or not) and buckle it to your luggage. As a last resort, you can carry it out by hand.

We recommend stuffing a travel pillow in its stuff sack before you land and snapping it to your carry-on’s side pocket. This keeps the pillow out of the way and allows you to move quickly in and out of the gate and through the terminal.

The most compact travel pillow is an inflatable pillow, like the Sea To Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow . In general, we prefer a compressible pillow that offers support. Memory foam compresses reasonably well and, in our experience, is more comfortable.

Plus, we’d rather not make our first impression with others by blowing up anything on a plane. That said, the inflatable travel pillow from Blablok inflates quicker than you would think and is very comfortable on long flights.

Travel Tricks: Get a Good Night’s Sleep on a Plane

travel size gel pillow

It’s fair to say sleep quality is compromised while in transit. But you can take extra measures to get the best rest possible. Below are travel tips we’ve gained from GearJunkie staff and our traveling friends in the industry.

Bring an Eye Mask

Sure, you can buy these but you may not need to. We always travel with a Buff . Our founder, Stephen Regenold — someone who’s seen it all — gave the Buff one of his highest accolades in a podcast interview with GearJunkie. He shared that the Buff might be one of the most unique pieces of gear ever developed. We use it as a hat, a sweatband, and pull over the eyes on flights. It does a great job of blocking out the light.

Continuing with damping out the senses, earplugs are a cheap and easy purchase. We get them in bulk at the hardware store and bring a few with us on the road. You may have a pair of these kicking around the garage or you might have noise-canceling headphones. Those less sensitive to sounds might get away with streaming music or podcasts through earbuds.

If you use over-the-ear headphones, consider a lower-profile travel pillow. We liked how the Bcozzy Travel Pillow slides low around the neck while still providing chin support options.

The cabin temperature on flights is generally set between 71 to 75 degrees F. That’s not bad, but it’s well below our core temperature. Dozing off, you may start to feel the chill set in. We always pack a good flannel , hoodie, or puffy jacket on a flight. It’s what we bring everywhere, so we keep one (or both) in our carry-on. And a hoodie or hat does a lot to keep heat from escaping.

Before you bed down, have a warm cup of caffeine-free tea or eat some fatty food. The extra calories will turn on your metabolism and burn off as heat. Finally, if they offer it, take advantage of that free blanket and drape it over your legs. If you run cold, every little bit helps.

Keep the Essentials at Hand

There’s a strategy for staying organized during travel. For us, it starts with a good travel pant. Knowing everything has its place keeps us worry-free and able to rest up peacefully. The best travel pants have pockets for your device, ID, and plane-friendly EDC. Plus pants with legs are warmer on overnight flights.

Absolutely. Travel pillows add a bit of comfort and help you get a better night’s sleep on the plane than a wadded-up jacket. The minimal investment of money, space, and weight is nothing compared to the comfort and support a good pillow provides. It only takes one long flight of trying to keep your head upright while dozing off to realize the value that a good travel pillow provides.

Different pillows have different requirements when it comes to cleaning. Be sure to check your pillow’s packaging. If your travel pillow has a removable pillow case, generally these can be thrown in the wash. We recommend following the instructions on the pillow case.

If you are on the road, you can wash the pillow cover out in the sink. You don’t need any special soap for this. Laundry soap or bath soap will work fine. Knead the pillow case gently with your hands until it’s clean. Then rinse it with clean water to get the soap out and hang it out overnight to dry.

If your pillow doesn’t have a removable case, we recommend spot washing them with soap and water or a cleaning wipe.

Most pillows require a bit more delicacy, particularly inflatable pillows. If you’re handwashing an inflatable pillow, make sure the valve is closed so water doesn’t get inside, and then immerse the pillow in soapy water. And never tumble-dry inflatable pillows, as it can damage the air bladder.

The best pillow is the one that matches your sleep needs. Most travel pillows are a horse-shoe shape that wraps around your neck to support your head. If you only want to buy one travel pillow, this semicircular pillow design is a great option. We recommend the Travelrest Nest Travel Pillow . It supports the head and neck without requiring a window to lean against and keeps you from nodding into an adjacent stranger.

Specialized pillows, like the J-Pillow , are great options for window seats. Side sleepers might appreciate the TRLT Travel Pillow , as it supports the head with a stiffened brace and emulates the position you’re most used to sleeping in at home.

If you already have one, don’t rule out the traditional camp pillow. Filled with down or synthetic loft, it can fill the crack against the window and provide a little more comfort than the stock pillows you might be handed before takeoff. It’s also a good pillow to pull out in the terminal if you are stuck between flights and need to crash for a few hours.

Long flights mean lots of idle time in the seat. Whether passing the time watching in-flight entertainment or getting the best sleep you can, we prefer the inflatable Blablok or the Travelrest Nest . Cabeau’s The Neck’s Evolution S3 Neck Pillow is also a great choice. The straps lock it to the headrest and prevent your head from bobbling forward.

We liked the simplicity of the TRTL Pillow and used it on a flight to Mexico. But we found that the internal support structure moved any pain from the neck, down the back between our shoulders. In the end, we preferred using the TRTL on shorter flights.

The simplest and most compact travel pillow is inflated with air. It won’t be as supportive as a memory foam pillow and can feel a little hard, but the air chamber can fit around your neck and add reasonable support. Deflated, it folds up and stows away smaller than a T-shirt.

travel size gel pillow

The Best Camping Pillows of 2023

A camping pillow is both a luxury and an easy, lightweight addition to your pack. Here are the best camping pillows currently on the market.

travel size gel pillow

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

We found the best travel backpacks of 2024, including top picks from Peak Design, Osprey, Patagonia, and more.

Steve Graepel

Steve Graepel is a Contributing Editor and Gear Tester at GearJunkie. He has been writing about trail running, camping, skiing, and general dirtbagging for 10+ years. When not testing gear with GearJunkie, he is a Senior Medical Illustrator on the Neurosurgery Team at Mayo Clinic. Based in Boise, Idaho, Graepel is an avid trail runner, camper, angler, cyclist, skier, and loves to introduce his children to the Idaho outdoors.

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Best Gel Pillow – Our top 6 Products for 2024

Last Updated on February 21, 2024

Written by Melanie Kassel

Melanie Kassel

Written by Melanie Kassel, Performance Editor

Our testing process.

Here at Sleep Advisor, our Sleep Certified experts use a refined mattress and product testing process to give you unbiased product suggestions… Read our full product review process .

.st0{clip-path:url(#SVGID_00000046340743257271907690000000964648354283835324_);} In This Article

Our sleep experts put together this in-depth guide to help you find the best gel pillow suited to you.

Do you love the conforming feel of memory foam but struggle with its warmth? Your pillow is the foundation for your head and neck, so it’s important to find that perfect balance of comfort and support with a touch of cooling.

Gel-infused pillows are a great solution to overheating and have a lot of offer when it comes to pressure relief, cushioning, and breathability too. If you’re shopping for a new pillow but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

We put together our top 6 picks for the highest-rated gel pillow list to help make your decision a little easier.

6 Top Rated Gel Pillows Review

  • Lagoon The Otter Pillow – Editor’s Choice
  • Coop Sleep Goods Eden Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Stomach Sleepers
  • Tempur-Pedic Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling – Best Gel Memory Foam Pillow
  • Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Memory Foam – Best Value Gel Pillow
  • Marlow Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Back Sleepers
  • Purple Harmony Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Combination Sleepers

Sleep Advisor’s Testing Methodology

At Sleep Advisor, our product reviews are based on findings from in-person tests that allow us to have a genuine understanding of how the mattress feels and performs.

For this roundup, we prioritized features that are especially important for gel pillows. We paid special attention to components such as pillow thickness, support elements, material, and cooling features.

On Sleep Advisor, we test each and every pillow to determine who they might be best suited for depending on your sleeping position and sleep preferences.

Editor’s Choice

Lagoon Otter Pillow

Lagoon Otter Pillow

A gel-infused memory foam pillow to prevent heat retention.

Sleep Advisor Score

Our editor’s choice is the Lagoon Otter pillow because it’s designed to provide cooling, comfort, and support in all sleeping positions. This pillow is filled with gel-infused shredded memory foam that helps with temperature regulation by pulling your body heat away from the pillow’s surface. A bamboo and polyester blend also helps promote cooling by preventing overheating.

The memory foam fill is CertiPUR-US® certified, which means it has no heavy metals, chemicals, or other harmful materials. In addition, the cover is hypoallergenic, making this Lagoon pillow a good choice for people with allergies.

You should also keep in mind the pillow is fully adjustable, so it should fit all body shapes and sleeping positions. Simply unzip the liner and remove some of the fill to customize the pillow’s height and firmness.

Best Gel Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

Coop Eden Pillow

Coop Eden Pillow

A gel-infused memory foam pillow with a hypoallergenic design

The Eden pillow by Coop Sleep Goods is a good choice for stomach sleepers who prefer a softer pillow with a lower loft. Although it has a softer feel, the design provides sufficient support to keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body. In addition, the pillow comes with an extra ½-pound bag of fill should you want to make it firmer or taller.

Filled with a combination of gel-infused memory foam and microfiber, this pillow has a similar feel to down, but it’s cooler thanks to the gel infusions. The mesh tape gusset also allows an even fill distribution so that fibers don’t clump around your head and neck.

For even more of a cooling effect, the pillowcase is made from a breathable Lulltra™ fabric, which uses a blend of bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester. You can wash it in cold water using a delicate cycle, but avoid using any bleach or fabric softener.

Best Gel Memory Foam Pillow

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

A medium-feel pillow for all sleeper types.

This Tempur-Pedic pillow is one of the more unique cooling pillows on this list as it features the brand’s proprietary TEMPUR® materials, along with two layers of TEMPUR-Breeze® gel. This combination of proprietary materials promotes continuous airflow and cooling in all sleeping positions.

The construction starts with a removable cover made from premium cotton. The zipper allows easy access to the inner layers while also making it easy to remove the cover for washing. You also shouldn’t have to worry about which side of the pillow is the cool one – both sides of the Cloud Breeze contain the TEMPUR-Breeze™ gel layer. For contouring around the head and neck, this pillow also features a piece of medium-firm TEMPUR® Material which creates a supportive core.

Although Tempur-Pedic doesn’t offer a trial period for this pillow, sleepers can count on a 5-year warranty that protects you against faulty materials and manufacturing.

Best Value Gel Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Pillow

A pillow with dual-action cooling for hot sleepers.

Brooklyn Bedding’s Cooling Memory Foam pillow offers a great value for the price with its dual-action cooling and high-quality materials. This dual-action technology combines gel infusions with pin core ventilation to increase airflow while drawing the heat away from your neck and head.

Apart from providing excellent cooling, the copper-graphite infusions have antimicrobial benefits. As a result, the memory foam in this pillow should be resistant to allergens, dust mites, mold, and bacteria, making it a good option for people with allergies.

In addition, Brooklyn Bedding offers two heights, so you can choose between a low and high loft depending on your preferred sleeping position. Side sleepers should like the higher loft, while back sleepers can fare well with both the high and low loft. Stomach sleepers should find the lower loft most comfortable.

Best Gel Pillow for Back Sleepers

Brooklinen Marlow Pillow

Brooklinen Marlow Pillow

A gel-infused memory foam pillow which is a happy-medium between plush and firm.

The Marlow is a cooling pillow that provides the right combination of pressure relief and support for back sleepers. With an adjustable firmness level, you can also customize this pillow for other sleeping positions just as well. There are two zippers that make it easy to access the fill if you want to add or remove some based on your comfort preferences.

The memory foam in this pillow is infused with gel to allow maximum cooling regardless of the outside temperature. Gel helps draw the heat away from your body, letting it escape through the zipper gussets and breathable sateen shell.

Apart from the memory foam core, the Marlow also features microfiber that helps make the pillow more supportive. This blend of materials is antimicrobial and should help with neck pain. The pillow comes in two sizes, plus it’s 100 percent allergy-friendly and vegan.

Best Gel Pillow for Combination Sleepers

Purple Harmony Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

Combination sleepers need a pillow that can easily adapt while switching between various sleeping positions. These sleepers also need a pillow that provides continuous support without pressure build-up, even if you switch positions throughout the night. The Purple Harmony’s Talalay latex core helps provide support and pressure relief whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. Latex is also a naturally bouncy, responsive material which helps the pillow move with you as you change positions.

As for its cooling abilities, a temperature-neutral, moisture-wicking mesh cover promotes continuous airflow. The Talalay latex core also has excellent cooling properties because it prevents heat build-up around your head and neck. This combination of cooling materials should keep you comfortable throughout the night, so you never have to flip the pillow.

The Purple Harmony’s durable latex material also helps ensure it doesn’t fall flat. This means the pillow should retain its shape while adapting to your head and neck even if you change positions, toss, and turn.

Gel Pillow Buying Guide

Gel pillows can be individual layers of soft, jelly-like material, infused memory foam, or one single top layer on one or both sides underneath the cover. Memory foam has a reputation for retaining heat, so this soft material is often used to create a cooler sleeping surface that minimizes disruptions throughout the night. Those with allergies may prefer gel because it is often hypoallergenic and resistant to allergens.

Another benefit of this type of material is that it is designed to conform to the shape of the head and neck, offering pressure relief and comfort. Unlike some other materials, it is more durable and resilient, built to withhold its shape over time. Many people enjoy the soft, comforting feel of sleeping on this type of cushioning fill.

travel size gel pillow

Cool Pillow Types

There are many different types of gel pillows to choose from. Some have layers on the surface so you can experience a cooling touch for sleep. Others have layers built into the interior alongside other types of material.

The warming nature of memory-based foam makes this one of the more common types to have gel materials paired with. This can come as swirls, beads, or a single piece of material amid shredded foam or a single solid piece.

Gel Infused Memory Foam

Memory foam may have layers infused with gel, either just on the surface or throughout. Sometimes, these can be removed and other times they cannot. Exterior layers are designed to create a pillow that is cool to the touch while interior layers provide an overall cooling experience.

Shredded Foam

Shredded foam is a foam that has been separated into many tiny pieces. This creates an adjustable loft so sleepers can find their preferred pillow height based on their unique shape and size. Shredded foam is also known for being more breathable, which can also help with cooling.

Fiber fill refers to individual pieces of memory foam, polyfoam, or down alternative material that have been separated to create a fluffy and adjustable pillow. These pieces are often infused with gel swirls or beads to offer more cushioning and temperature regulation.

Individual Layers

Many memory foam pillows are one solid piece of foam that conforms to the shape of the head and neck. Individual layers are when the material is separated into strips or is shredded for a more traditional feel. This also enables sleepers to adjust the loft and find the optimal height for their needs.

Who May Need This Product?

While many people love the cooling comfort of gel pillows, there are some that are particularly fond of this jelly-like material. People who love memory foam but tend to overheat, those who sleep on their sides, allergy sufferers, and pregnant women are all drawn to this type of material.

People Who Sleep Warm

There’s nothing worse than resting your head on a comfy surface only to find your face on fire an hour or two later. Overheating is a serious problem many sleepers face, and is especially common when sleeping on memory foam. Thankfully, many companies have addressed this issue by infusing products with cooling materials.

travel size gel pillow

Side sleepers face unique needs when it comes to keeping the head and neck aligned with the spine. A surface that is too high or too low can cause problems, and many find excess pressure can develop on the side of the face and neck. A conforming pillow with soft materials is one way to address these issues.

Allergy Sufferers

Latex, down, and other materials may offer comfort and support, but they can also bring other unwanted elements for those with allergies. Many gel pillows are built to be hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites, mildew, and mold. This may help to address the issues that many individuals with allergies face.

Expectant Women

Pregnant women experience unique needs when it comes to sleep. Side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy and many expectant mothers are prone to overheating. Gel pillows can be used under the head, between the legs, or underneath the growing belly to provide cooling comfort and support.

Gel Pillow Buying Considerations

Buying considerations.

Before shopping for any sleep product, it’s important to consider what your individual sleep needs and preferences are. With so many options to choose from, it can become overwhelming to navigate, so it helps to have some knowledge about what to look for before you begin.

Sleep Position

travel size gel pillow

Your sleep position is one of the key factors when it comes to selecting a pillow. Back and stomach sleepers should look for a lower loft that can support the head and neck while keeping the spine in optimal alignment.

Side sleepers often need something slightly thicker. This position can leave a lot of space between the head and the mattress, so it’s important to have a higher loft to fill in this extra room. Side sleepers also are more prone to experiencing excess pressure on the head and shoulders, so a conforming pillow is best.

Type of Cover

The cover is the first thing that comes in contact with your face, so choosing a soft and hypoallergenic material is key. Look for breathable, cooling materials that allow for airflow. Having a cover that can be removed for machine washing and adjustability is also desirable.

Distribution of Fill

Many pillows made from memory foam have a single, solid piece, but others have shredded foam or fiber fill. For conforming pressure relief, one solid piece works well but has the disadvantage of not offering an adjustable loft. Shredded fibers allow for adjustability and airflow throughout.

Form (Shape)

Similar to standard models, gel pillows come in many shapes and sizes. Knowing which to choose will depend on your sleep position and needs. Standard shapes are flat and even, while curved shapes cater to those with aches and pains.

  • Traditional : Many people are looking for a traditional shape that is flat and even. This is a standard pillow shape that caters to most sleepers, but can also be infused with gel for cooling and contouring support. Traditional models come in different sizes like Standard, Queen, and King.
  • Curved : Curved designs are also known as orthopedic pillows and feature two curved sides with a dip in the middle. This shape is designed to accommodate the natural curves of the head and neck. Many people who struggle with aches and pains benefit from an orthopedic shape.
  • Convoluted : For greater breathability, convoluted pillows have an egg-crate design that allows air to flow freely throughout. For those who are very prone to overheat, this design enhances the benefits of cooling gel. Some feature tiny pinholes that allow trapped heat to escape.


Some pillows feature cooling gel on one side and regular memory foam or other material on the other side. This allows users to select the side based on the feel and desired temperature.

These pillows come in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate the various needs of sleepers.

Price Range

Just like with other bedding, the price can vary widely depending on the materials used, the fill, size, and other features. For a Standard size, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 for basic features up to $60 or more for memory foam. Shopping around is the best way to find all of the features you are looking for to meet your budget.

Firmness Level

Firmness is another factor to consider. Similar to mattresses, some people prefer a firmer sleep surface while others prefer soft. Those with aches and pains may benefit from a firmer choice to keep the head and neck in alignment, preventing a common source of pain.

Having a warranty is a great feature since it brings peace of mind that if something goes wrong with your product, you can have it repaired or replaced free of charge. Some companies offer this feature, so be sure to look for this in the product listing or speak to a customer service representative if you’re not sure.

Sleep Trial

The sleep trial is a period of time that companies allow customers to test out their products. During this period of allotted time, if you are not completely satisfied with your experience, you have the option to return the product for a full refund.

travel size gel pillow

Break-in Time

Most pillows have a period of adjustment when your body has to get used to the feel of sleeping on a new surface. Memory foam starts out feeling firm but softens over time, so it could take a couple of weeks before it begins to feel soft and conforming.

Gel Filled Pillow: Pros and Potential Cons

Different materials work for different people, and not everyone will love the jelly-like feel of a gel. Testing out different pillows is one way to determine which type you prefer, or you can take advantage of the sleep trials that many companies offer.

Falling Asleep Quickly

If you struggle to fall asleep or toss and turn throughout the night because you’re too hot, the addition of cooling gel could be a solution. Research has pointed to the fact that our bodies prefer being cool at night and that this could help promote better rest. A cooling pillow may be one way to promote better sleep.

Sleeping Tightly

For many people, their pillow is the key to a better night’s rest. Too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too high, or too low. These are just some of the many complaints people have when they lay their heads down at night. Finding the right products may significantly improve the quality of your sleep.

Pain Relief

If you are sleeping on a surface that is too soft or not the right height for your frame, this could cause your head and neck to be in poor alignment with your spine. This is one of the most common sources of morning aches and pains. You need to find a pillow that supports your neck properly and relieves the pain.

Potential Drawbacks

Off gasing smell.

Memory foam is one of several materials that is known to give off that “new product” smell. This is due to some of the chemicals used in manufacturing and shipping. While this odor is unpleasant, it should dissipate quickly with proper airing out and ventilation.

Short Durability

Durability is important if you want your product to last for a long period of time. Lower end materials like inexpensive polyester wear out more quickly and should be replaced every 6 months. Higher quality memory foam and gel-based materials may last longer with proper care.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gel Pillows

When should i replace my gel pillow.

Depending on the type of materials, it may last for several years. Many companies have estimated time frames on how often their products should last, but it also comes down to preference. If you notice that your pillow is losing shape and no longer supportive, it’s good to replace it.

What can customer ratings indicate?

If you’re not entirely sure about a product, check out the customer ratings and reviews. These can give you a good idea of whether a product meets its claims. Customers often share how a product feels, durability, and other feedback that may help you in making your decision.

Is an additional pillowcase necessary?

Some companies include a pillowcase, especially if the product comes in a specialty size. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of extras as back-ups in case one is dirty and needs to be washed. Always use a pillowcase to protect your pillow from the oils on your skin and to reduce potential allergens.

Change your pillow, change your life. Okay, maybe it won’t change your life, but it could significantly improve the quality of your sleep at night. Nobody wants to toss and turn all night or lay their head on an old, worn-out surface. If you struggle with overheating or wake with aches and pains, a gel pillow may help. With so many options to choose from, it can be a little daunting. We’ve taken the guesswork out by giving some of the top-rated pillow choices on the market with some great features. If you’re still not sure, check out some of the customer reviews and don’t forget to leave one for others once you’ve found your new pillow.

More Reading:

  • How to Properly Wash (or Clean) Your Pillows
  • Sleep Chronotypes – Are You a Bear, Wolf, Lion, or Dolphin?

Melanie Kassel

Melanie Kassel

Performance Editor

About Author

As Sleep Advisor’s Performance Editor, Melanie writes and edits content throughout the site to ensure it’s accurate, engaging, and up-to-date.

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Best Travel Pillows: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

travel size gel pillow

Most people can agree long flights are no fun— but long trips without a high-quality travel pillow are even worse. Sure, you can try contorting your body to get comfortable enough to sleep, but nodding off on a plane is hard enough on its own. Plus, trying to get good sleep without a good pillow  can result in headaches, a stiff neck, and overall discomfort.

In this guide, we discuss the best travel pillows to help you get sound sleep on your next red-eye.

  • Best Travel Pillows
  • 1. Trtl Travel Pillow

trtl travel pillow

Trtl’s travel pillow is one of our favorites because it has an entirely different design than most wrap-style pillows and offers scientifically proven ergonomic neck support.

Trtl is designed to hold your head upright in a better position than most standard travel pillows. It’s lightweight, only weighing half a pound, and easy to store.

To use it, wrap the Trtl pillow around your neck as you would a scarf, so it supports your head from all angles. Its internal structure stretches to create a hammock-like effect, allowing your head to rest without drooping too low.

The Trtl pillow features super-soft micro-fleece and a breathable mesh lining to keep you warm but not too warm. It’s also machine washable for convenient cleaning. You can buy the Trtl travel pillow from their website or Amazon, and it’s available in grey, black, red, and pink.

  • 2. Travelrest® Nest™ Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

travelrest nest™ pillow

Travelrest® makes several travel pillows, but we like their Nest™ pillow because it has a patented ergonomic design and comes with a 2-year warranty.

Travelrest®’s Nest™ pillow looks a lot like a standard U-shaped travel pillow, but it has a velcro strap that allows you to wrap and secure the pillow around your neck for all-around cushioning. It also has a divet in the top to fit snugly against most headrests.

The Nest™ pillow features a soft velour cover and thermo-sensitive, contouring memory foam inside. The foam inside molds perfectly to your neck to promote neutral alignment and prevents disruptive neck movements.

We recommend memory foam pillows  to those with chronic neck pain because memory foam alleviates pressure points, preventing new pains from forming, and Travelrest®’s memory foam pillows are some of the best.

For convenient transport, the Nest™ pillow can be compressed down to only a fourth of its original size and zipped away in its complementary drawstring “stuff sack.” This pillow is easy to wash, too, as the cover can be easily unzipped and thrown in the washer and dryer.

To get sound sleep when you’re not on the road, invest in a comfortable mattress. Read our guide for reviews of top-rated mattresses and find your next bed.

  • 3. Huzi Design Infinity Pillow

huzi infinity pillow

Remember infinity scarves? People loved them because they were versatile and easy to use. Huzi expanded upon this well-liked concept to create a game-changing travel pillow.

Huzi’s Infinity Pillow wraps around your neck to offer cozy comfort, much like a scarf would. Its Mobius shape allows you to adjust it in a number of ways, making it compatible with most sleep habits. It features super-soft, breathable bamboo fabric and microfiber filling to keep you at a comfortable temperature.

The Infinity Pillow is naturally antibacterial, helping you fight the germs associated with public travel, and machine washable for easy cleaning. It’s available in pink, navy blue, burgundy, grey, and bright green.

You can purchase the Infinity Pillow on Amazon.

  • 4. Cabeau Evolution S3® Memory Foam Travel Pillow

cabeau evolution s3 neck pillow

Cabeau makes a handful of travel pillows, but their newest and most recommended model is their Evolution S3®. Cabeau claims this pillow is the “world’s best engineered travel pillow.”

While we’re fans of the Cabeau pillow pillow, we like to think there isn’t one “best” pillow for all sleepers. However, if you’re a back sleeper or deal with chronic pain, these will likely feel the most comfortable for you.

Cabeau’s Evolution S3® is a U-shaped travel pillow. It has straps at the bottom to hold the two ends together around your neck, and straps on the top to secure the pillow to your headrest.

Because this pillow straps to your headrest, it prevents your head from dropping forward and keeps your airways open. It also has raised sides to prevent your head from bobbing back and forth with outside movement. Its very thin back offers cushion for your neck and shoulder muscles, allowing you to relax.

Their pillow features contouring memory foam and a moisture-wicking cover for cushioning and cool comfort. The cover is machine washable, too, and comes with a compact carrying case.

Cabeau offers a limited manufacturer’s warranty and a “No Neck Pain Guarantee” with each of their pillows. Their warranty covers material or workmanship defects, while their pain guarantee allows you to return the pillow for a full refund if you ever experience any pain while using it.

  • 5. J-Pillow Chin and Neck Travel Pillow


The J-Pillow is perfect for sleepers sitting upright and offers head, chin, and neck support with its unique shape. It wraps around one side of your neck to fill the gap between your head and shoulders and give your neck cushioning support.

The J-Pillow is designed to help your neck muscles relax so you can fall asleep easier and get more undisturbed rest. Its shape also prevents your head from bobbing by keeping your neck stabilized.

Though this pillow doesn’t compress down, it includes a convenient snap-loop fastener so you can easily attach it to your luggage. It features a soft polyester cover and supportive filling.  The J-Pillow is also machine washable for easy cleaning.

You can find the J-Pillow exclusively on Amazon.

  • 6. AirComfy Inflatable Daydreamer Travel Neck Pillow

AirComfy Inflatable Daydreamer Travel Neck Pillow

We like AirComfy’s Inflatable Daydreamer Travel Neck Pillow because it has a built-in pump which  inflates the pillow in less than a minute. The Inflatable Daydreamer Neck Pillow is a U-shape but has a more ergonomic design to offer better neck support. The back “U” of the pillow has extra cushioning, allowing your head to rest comfortably straight up without falling too far backward.

AirComfy’s travel pillow has an ultra-soft velvet cover that can be easily removed and thrown in the washing machine. It also comes with a convenient Packsack for easy transport.

You can buy the AirComfy Daydreamer on Amazon, and it comes in dark blue, purple, pink, and grey color options. As far as we can see, the AirComfy pillow does not come with a warranty or sleep trial, but Amazon does offer free returns with the product.

  • 7. Bcozzy Chin and Neck Supporting Travel Pillow

bcozzy chin and neck supporting pillow

The Bcozzy Chin and Neck Supporting Travel Pillow wraps around your neck to keep your head supported from all angles.

It offers extra support for your chin to prevent your head from falling forward while you sleep, and its wrap-style design keeps your neck in place. It has a thinner back to allow your head to rest back more naturally, preventing stiffness or soreness.

Bcozzy stuffs their pillow with lightweight Hollow Conjugated Siliconized Polyester Fiber. The cover of their pillow is polyester, too. Plus, their pillow can go in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning.

The Bcozzy pillow is available exclusively on Amazon and comes in black, pink, navy, red, grey, purple, and apple-green.

  • 8. Cloudz Microbead Cool Gel & Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow

Cloudz Microbead Cool Gel & Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow

The Cloudz Microbead Cool Gel & Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow is one of our more budget-friendly options, sold for only $15 on Amazon. It has a straightforward U-shape design and comes in five fun colors: blue, black, pink, grey, and camouflage.

The Cloudz travel pillow has a soft-to-the-touch cover with mesh lining on one side to prevent heat retention. Cloudz also infuses cooling gels directly below the cover of their pillow to help combat body heat.

Their cover is part polyester part spandex, and the inside filling is 100% polystyrene beads. Cloudz’s pillow conforms to your neck and offers sturdy support without crunching down like other microbead pillows.

  • 9. Therm-a-Rest® Compressible Travel Pillow

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

Therm-a-Rest’s Compressible Travel Pillow is the only rectangle travel pillow on our list and is better suited for camping and not so much for sleeping sitting up. These pillows are also great for people who like to avoid hotel pillows and want to bring a clean bed pillow from home on trips.

As their name suggests, these pillows compress to a quarter of their size so they can be easily thrown in with your luggage. They come in small, medium, large, and extra large size options and seven different color and pattern options, including blue heather, cardinal, denim, gray, lichen, moon, and pistachio.

Therm-a-Rest’s travel pillow features a brushed polyester cover and shredded urethane foam filling. We’re fans of their brand because they offer a lifetime warranty with their pillows, backing their quality and protecting your investment.

You can find these pillows on Therm-a-Rest’s website, Amazon, or at most places you can buy camping gear, such as Cabela’s.

If you commonly experience aches and pains, read our guide on finding the best mattress for a bad back .

  • 10. AERIS Travel Pillow

aeris travel pillow

The last pillow on our list is the AERIS Travel Pillow, a U-shaped pillow that comes with earplugs and an eye mask to help you get completely undisturbed sleep. It has an incredibly soft velour cover that’s also removable for easy washing, and the inside is stuffed with solid memory foam.

The AERIS Travel Pillow offers contouring comfort and is great for sleepers with neck pains. It provides enough support to keep your neck stabilized. Plus, it’s easily moldable so it can be compressed down to fit in its corresponding travel bag.

You can buy the AERIS Travel Pillow on Amazon. While it doesn’t have a sleep trial, Amazon still allows returns should you find the AERIS isn’t comfortable for you.

  • What is a Travel Pillow?

As you can imagine, travel pillows are smaller than standard bed pillows and are easy to take on-the-go. They’re perfect for long flights, road trips, camping, and more.

Because we’re not accustomed to sleeping in a vertical position, travel pillows are designed to help us get comfortable dozing off straight-up in a chair. Travel pillows can prevent uncomfortable neck aches and help you catch up on sleep to pass the time.

Traditional travel pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes to offer different levels of comfort and support. However, they fall into two main categories: inflatable and non-inflatable. We then have hundreds of different options amongst those two categories.

Inflatable pillows take portability a step further and can completely deflate to fit into your carry-on. However, these are filled solely with air and may not be as comfortable as non-inflatable counterparts. Plus, you have to blow them up manually. While this may be inconvenient for some, these pillows are perfect for people who are concerned about luggage space.

Non-inflatable pillows vary widely. Some are stuffed with foams, others with microbeads, and they’re available in different styles. These aren’t as easy to transport; however, they usually offer better cushioning comfort.

  • Types of Travel Pillows

There are several different types of travel pillows because what’s comfortable for one person may not work for another. We all have varying sleep needs, so it’s best to consider your personal preferences when choosing the best travel pillow for your next trip.

Whether you’re choosing an inflatable or non-inflatable travel pillow, they’re available in the following shapes:

When you hear the term “travel pillow,” chances are your mind goes to the U-shaped cushions you can pick up in nearly any airport terminal.  These offer gentle comfort for your neck, with the primary complaints about them mentioning their lack of chin support.

In an effort to innovate the standard U-shaped travel pillow, the J-shape was born. These were created to offer better chin support and prevent your head from drooping uncomfortably.

While many believe the J-shape travel pillow is significantly more comfortable, it’s a lot harder to transport unless it’s inflatable.

A wrap-style travel pillow looks a lot like a scarf. As the name implies, these wrap around your neck to offer all-around support. They are excellent at preventing your head from tilting side to side or bobbing up and down as a result of turbulence or a bump on the road.

Wrap-style travel pillows are usually the easiest to transport because they fold right up to fit in a back pocket or purse.

Hourglass travel pillows look like an hourglass turned on its side— they have two wider ends and a thin middle. They usually come with a strap or Velcro to attach to your headrest and offer a cushion for both your head and neck.

In comparison to other travel pillows, these are the most versatile. When you’re not on the road, these can double as comfortable knee pillows. Plus, for people with back pain, they can be placed below the small of your back for extra cushioning support.


Rectangular travel pillows are the least popular because they can’t hold your neck upright. These are very similar to the bed pillows you use at home but much smaller.

Many airlines hand out rectangular travel pillows to their passengers on long-haul flights as they’re relatively inexpensive, but they’re not the most comfortable. These get placed behind your head to offer a bit of cushion.

See Also: Memory Foam vs Microbead Travel Pillow

  • What to Consider When Buying a Travel Pillow

A good travel pillow offers you comfortable neck support, is easy to stow away, is convenient to clean, and comes with reliable warranty coverage.

In this section, we discuss the factors to think about when choosing the most suitable travel pillow to meet your sleep needs.

It can be tricky finding the perfect sized travel pillow. On one hand, you want something that’s going to be comfortable, but at the same time, you need something that will be easy to transport.

If saving space is a major concern for you, you’re almost always better going with an inflatable travel pillow as they’re the easiest to compress and tuck away. However, if you can accommodate a non-inflatable travel pillow, we recommend choosing those over inflatable options due to their difference in comfort.

Above all, you should make sure your travel pillow fits your body type.  A travel pillow is no good if it’s not comfortable for your shoulders and neck. While it may seem obvious to point out, all of us have varying shoulder and head sizes. Make sure the dimensions of your next pillow are compatible with your upper body.

Cleaning Instructions

Like most public transportation, planes are filthy. They’re a breeding ground for germs, which you would expect of a vessel designed to transport large numbers of people far and wide.

To prevent yourself from catching a cold, or other germs, always wash your travel pillow between trips.

For the most convenient care, choose a pillow that’s machine washable. Choosing something that requires more careful cleaning can be tedious, and you’ll likely be less inclined to wash your pillow as often as you should.

Save yourself the hassle of spot or dry cleaning travel pillows and look for one that can be easily thrown in your washing machine and dryer for a quick refresher.

Your Preferred Sleeping Position

Your preference for stomach, back, or side sleeping doesn’t matter much when you’re sitting straight-up in an uncomfortable chair.  However, your at-home sleeping habits still contribute to your decision when choosing the most comfortable travel pillow.

Your sleeping position determines how your head typically rests at night. Back sleepers are used to snoozing with their head flat back on a pillow, side sleepers usually sleep with the side of their face on the pillow, and stomach sleepers typically turn their necks to either side to make it easier to breathe.

Knowing that, we can safely assume the following about different sleep preferences:

  • Back sleepers will feel more comfortable with a pillow that allows them to rest looking straight forward, such as a U-shaped or hourglass pillow.
  • Side sleepers will likely prefer a wrap-style or J-shaped pillow that lets them rest the side of their head on the pillow.
  • Stomach sleepers should be most comfortable in wrap-style travel pillows as they’re best for accommodating people who tilt their necks or head while they sleep.

More often than not, travel pillows do not come with a warranty. Instead, many come with moneyback guarantees or return policies that let you try them out and return them if you’re dissatisfied.

However, during our search for high-quality travel pillows, we found the average warranty for travel pillows, if a company has one, is around two years.

Now, because your travel pillow likely won’t come with a warranty, you must buy one with high-quality materials and craftsmanship to get your money’s worth. While travel pillows aren’t as expensive as regular bed pillows, they can still be costly.

  • Tips for Getting Good Sleep While Traveling

Beyond investing in a high-quality travel pillow, there are other things you can do during your trip to help you get good sleep and prevent jet lag.

  • Buy a comfortable eye mask and set of earplugs. Nothing complements a travel pillow better than an eye mask and earplugs— this trio of sleep-promoting accessories can help you completely block out any outside noises, lights, and distractions to doze off undisturbed. If you’re not a fan of earplugs, noise-canceling headphones work just as well.
  • Try to keep your spine aligned. It may seem unnatural to focus on your posture while you’re trying to fall asleep, but keeping your spine in a neutral position allows your muscles to relax and prevents pain build-up at your pressure points.
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s always important to stay hydrated, but it’s especially important when you’re on the road. Traveling can be stressful, and drinking plenty of water helps prevent headaches, fatigue, cranky moods, and more.
  • Pack the best foods for sleep. Most of us like to grab a bite to eat before boarding a plane or heading out on a long road trip. However, if you’re not smart about it, your pre-trip meal can hinder your potential shut-eye. Skip greasy, heavy food, and choose foods that will help you sleep better , such as almonds, bananas, and whole grains.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. You wouldn’t put on your tightest pair of jeans to go on a road trip, would you? Set yourself up for comfort by dressing in your favorite clothes for lounging around. Loose-fitting clothing helps promote healthy blood flow, too— which is necessary when you’re sitting for long periods. Additionally, don’t forget to wear layers. Airplanes are usually cold, and a sweater or a good travel blanket can help mitigate discomfort.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best travel pillow for long flights?

There’s no one travel pillow that’s right for everyone. An inflatable travel pillow might be the right option for you if you need to save on space; if not, you might want to choose a pillow that’s going to be more comfortable. A side sleeper might want a wrap pillow, while a back sleeper might want an hourglass pillow. Finding the right travel pillow for you often requires you to consider what size and shape you want, and how much care you want to invest in the pillow.

Are memory foam travel pillows good?

Memory foam can help you sleep better while you travel, just as the material can help you sleep better at home in bed. Memory foam conforms to your head and neck, supporting you without adding pressure. However, you might not be able to machine wash your memory foam pillow, which can make keeping the pillow clean much more difficult.

Do neck pillows help you sleep on a plane?

A neck pillow can help some travelers catch some much needed rest. Others may find that a neck pillow pushes their head too far forward for them to feel comfortable. For optimal comfort, you should look for a travel pillow that lets you mimic how you would sleep at home in bed.

Do pillows count as a carry-on?

Pillows normally don’t count toward the usual limit of one carry-on and one personal item. It’s a smart idea to check with an airline or travel service before you fly, however. Some airlines may impose size regulations on pillows.

What should I look for when buying pillows?

When you’re choosing a new pillow, you want to consider its materials, loft, firmness, and your sleeping position. Back sleepers often prefer a U-shaped or hourglass travel pillow, while side and stomach sleepers might want to look at wrap pillows. Side sleepers may also enjoy a J-shaped travel pillow.

It’s also a good idea to think about how you would clean and take care of your new pillow—many customers love a pillow that they can just throw in the washing machine.

  • Did You Find Your Next Travel Pillow?

Traveling can be a burden, especially if you do it often. A good travel pillow is a perfect companion for long trips, helping you get peaceful, sound sleep and make the most of some of the most comfortable mattresses found in hotels and similar places.

We hope our guide has steered you towards the most comfortable travel pillow for your sleep needs. However, if you still need more information, read our other guides for better sleep tips and advice on how to choose the best sleep accessories for you.

Meg Riley is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep and mattresses. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Junkie.

Meg started to focus on the sleep industry in 2018. Since then, she has written over 70+ articles on sleep hygiene, product reviews, and the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry.

A non-exhaustive list of some of the topics she has written on: the effectiveness of alarm clocks, how to prevent jet lag, the NREM & REM Sleep Cycle, and causes and treatments of Restless Legs Syndrome.

Meg Riley has her undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University where she studied Advertising and Public Relations and wrote articles on the student experience for College Magazine.

Related Reads

travel size gel pillow

Check out our mattress review guides to compare today’s top-rated options and find your perfect mattress.

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  • Introduction

The Appliance Barn & Sleep Center

Malouf® Z™ Travel Gel Dough™ + Z™ Gel Pillow

At a glance.

The compressible design allows for convenient travel or use as a neck roll pillow, ideal for flights, cars, or buses. The convenient size allows for easy transportation but can still be used as a traditional sleeping pillow, perfect for hotels or when staying as a guest. The liquid Z™ Gel lies on top of the pillow for a cool sleeping surface that will capture and dissipate your body heat, creating a cooler night's sleep. The memory foam is also infused with Z™ Gel for a combination that offers an optimal thermal experience. The unique Gel Dough® memory formula creates a softer, cooler, doughier memory foam. The extremely breathable rayon from bamboo velour cover enhances the cooling effect, and is removable for easy laundering.


General Specs

Model #: zztrhpgl, related items:, malouf® z™ travel contour dough™ pillow, malouf® z™ travel dough™ pillow, malouf® z™ travel gelled microfiber pillow, malouf® z™ travel gelled microfiber™ + memory foam layer pillow, malouf® z™ travel neck gel dough™ + z™ gel pillow, malouf® z™ travel neck shredded gel dough pillow, malouf® z™ travel shredded gel dough™ pillow, get to know this product., product overview, z® travel gel dough® + z™ gel pillow.

Unique combination for maximum cooling

Z™ Gel captures and distributes heat

Gel Dough® formula creates a cooler, softer memory foam

Compressible design allows for convenient travel or use as a neck roll pillow

Convenient size can be used as a traditional sleeping pillow

Rayon from bamboo velour removable cover

Dimensions (inches)

Width: 12"

Length: 16"

Height: 4"

Gel Dough® Memory Foam

Premium Dough® memory foam is infused with advanced gel material that dissipates heat to regulate temperature, in addition to providing the pressure-relief memory foam is known for.

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Our Favorite Pillows for a Restful Night’s Sleep

Left long narrow pillow with an indent in the center. Center Rounded ushaped grey pillow with white trim. Right Curved...

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White rounded rectangular pillow propped up on dark couch

Our Overall Favorite Casper Hybrid Snow Pillow (Standard) Read more

White padded pillow in curved ushape sitting on flat white pillowcase and dark couch

Best for Side Sleepers Honeydew Sleep The Scrumptious Side Pillow Read more

Front view of grey ushaped curved pillow with white trim branded Flow 2.0

Best for Chaotic Sleepers Bedgear Flow Cuddle Curve Pullow Read more

White bed pillow with blue tag and circular closeup of the interior material

Best Under $100 Snuggle-Pedic Adjustable Cooling Pillow Read more

Finding the best pillow for your needs can be an agonizing ordeal. Get something that's too firm, too soft, or just not quite right for your head and you can wake up with a lot of pain the next day. Never fear, WIRED is here. We've tested nearly a dozen pillows, using each one for several weeks if not longer to get a sense of how comfortable they are, how well they hold up to repeated use, and what sleeping style they’re best suited for. These are our top picks, but there are an innumerable number of pillows out there. We'll update this guide as we test more. All of the prices below are for the queen-size version unless otherwise specified.

If you want to get even better sleep, check out our Best Mattresses , Best Organic Mattresses , Best Sheets , Best Bed Frames , and Best Weighted Blankets guides.

Update March 2024: We've added the Purple Freeform Pillow, Purple DreamLayer Pillow, Snuggle-Pedic Adjustable Cooling Pillow, and Parallel High Profile Pillow. We've also added more detail about what to look for in a pillow, and a section about pillowcases.

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You might think a pillow is a pillow. It just has to be soft and fit under your head, right? Your head, neck, and back disagree. Getting a good night’s sleep can depend heavily on your pillow, so when choosing one, here are a few key questions to ask.

What kind of sleeper are you? Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? Do you stay relatively still, or do you toss and turn a lot? Do you usually have one pillow under your head, or do you cocoon yourself into a pillow chrysalis? This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when deciding what type of pillow works best for you.

What is the pillow made of? Pillows can be filled with a variety of materials. Down and synthetic down are fluffy clusters of fiber that can feel soft and comfortable, whereas memory foam is designed to compress with the weight of your head but still return to its previous shape. There are also hybrid pillows that use multiple layers of different materials for a more structured feel.

How firm is it? However you sleep, you'll want a pillow that keeps your spine straight and your head aligned with your back. That means you want something firm enough to support your head yet soft enough that it doesn't dig into your face or skull.

How lofty is it? “Loft” is a term often used to describe how high off the bed the pillow keeps your head. If a pillow is too tall, for example, you might end up with your neck tilted upward, straining it throughout the night. Most pillows typically fall into one of three categories: Low Loft, which is relatively short and ideal for back sleepers; high loft, which is better for side sleepers (since your head will be further off the bed than when you're on your back); and medium loft, which is somewhere in the middle and best if you're a combination sleeper who doesn't stick to one particular sleep style.

What is the pillow’s warranty and return policy? You might not think the pillow you sleep (and sweat and drool) on would have a robust warranty, but many pillow manufacturers offer generous policies. For example, Purple offers a 1-year warranty and even a 100-night trial period. Casper has a similar warranty and a 30-day trial. If you're unsure whether your new pillow is right for you, check out the company's policies to see what leeway you have to try before you commit—and make sure you’re protected if something goes wrong.

Our Overall Favorite

Unless you’re looking for specialty support, it’s hard to do better than Casper’s hybrid pillow. Like hybrid mattresses , it has a multilayered design with a foam core, which provides solid neck support, sandwiched between layers of soft memory fiber. When I first held it, the pillow felt flimsy and folded easily—I was worried it would be too soft and squishy to provide any real support. But I was surprised at how supportive it was. After a couple of nights, it became my go-to pillow.

Casper claims this pillow can “stay cooler” for up to 12 hours. That’s vague enough to be difficult to quantify, but it was one of the cooler pillows I tried in my testing process. Even in Texas summers, I didn’t find myself flipping the pillow much at all during the night. This one is often discounted to $113 at Amazon, so try to catch it on sale.

Best for Side Sleepers

This pillow from Honeydew is one of the best side-sleeper pillows I've tried. WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu and his wife have also been sleeping on it for more than a year and have nothing but great things to say as well. The queen-size version is 27 inches wide and 15 inches long at the tips, but with an upward curve toward the middle. The copper-infused foam fill is firm and stays cool throughout the night. You'll want to grab a few pillowcases since it's hard to find third-party cases that fit perfectly.

I’ve used a smaller side pillow for many years, and this one is a little wider and firmer than the one I’m used to. It’s got plenty of space for two people to cuddle together and have both of their heads supported. Alternatively, you can hug it similar to a body pillow, and one of the curved tips fits neatly underneath your head. It’s a versatile option for people who can’t decide on just one way to sleep on their side. Julian, who is also a stomach sleeper, says he likes it for that sleeping position too as he tucks the tips around his neck for a swaddling effect.

Best for Chaotic Sleepers

I like the idea of a side-sleeper pillow that has a curve in it so it can fit around my shoulder. The problem is, I don't just sleep on my side. I roll over on my back and flip onto my stomach, occasionally half my body goes in one direction, while the other half goes in another. For people like me, the Flow Cuddle Curve pillow from Bedgear is one of the more versatile options out there.

Like other side-sleeper pillows, it has a small curve on one side to accommodate a shoulder, but it's otherwise similar in shape to most standard pillows. Flip it around and you might not even notice it's not a typical rectangle. It has a washable cover, and air vents covered with breathable mesh help it stay cool throughout the night. Rather than typical standard/queen/king pillow sizes, Bedgear uses a sizing system tailored to your gender, shirt size, and typical sleeping position. Check the size chart before choosing a size. Thankfully all sizes of the Flow Cuddle Curve cost the same.

Best Under $100

Sticking to a budget with a pillow can be a trade-off between back pain, neck pain, and wallet pain. But WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe swears by this adjustable cooling pillow from Snuggle-Pedic. It comes in two variations—one has adjustable shredded memory foam for $57, and the other is the same pillow without the extra memory foam fill for $37. The former lets you add (or remove) the fill to optimize the pillow's firmness to your taste.

The outer pillow protector is machine-washable, and the pillow fill is easy to fluff to get that perfect cushy feeling. Louryn has slept on this pillow for four years—which also speaks to its long-term durability—and likes it so much that when she accidentally left it in a hotel, she immediately overnighted another so she wouldn't have to go a single night without it.

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Best Organic Pillow (and Customizable)

One of the biggest challenges with finding the perfect pillow is getting the firmness level right. Too much filling and it feels like resting on a rock. Too little, and you may as well not have a pillow at all. The Avocado Green Pillow is a great middle ground, because it comes with an extra bag of filling so you can get the firmness of your pillow just right (and have the option to change it later). Avocado makes our favorite organic mattress and this pillow's fill is made from GOLS-certified organic latex and GOTS-certified organic kapok. The quilted organic cotton cover is satisfyingly soft and stays cool for long enough to fall asleep without having to flip the pillow.

Closeup of puffy white pillow with a black tag displaying the brand name Purple

Best Cooling Pillow

Purple's distinctive cooling gel grid has made the company's mattresses popular , and the Freeform Pillow brings those benefits to your pillow. It has adjustable fill and includes a spare bag to store the excess fill material in case you want to add more later. I found the pillow a bit overstuffed when I first got it, but after removing a few handfuls (and a bit of fluffing to get the fill distributed evenly), I got it to a point where it had just enough support without exacerbating my already perpetual neck pain.

The real stand-out feature though is the honeycomb grid embedded in the outer cover. It keeps the surface of the pillow cool, so you don't have to flip it over quite as often throughout the night. If you, like me, are a bit of a hot sleeper, this can be the godsend you need to finally get a good night's sleep.

GhostBed Pillow

A More Affordable Pillow

Pillows are one of those things that can get weirdly expensive. But you don't have to shell out $100 or more for a solid place to rest your head. WIRED reviewer Medea Giordano has been using the memory foam GhostBed pillow since 2020—she slept on it while visiting with a friend and immediately bought one after returning home. It's medium-firm and works for her side-, back-, and stomach-sleeping rotation. GhostBed's claim of it being the "Coolest Pillow in the World” is exaggerated, but Medea sleeps hot and says the gel foam does stay cool all night.

Angled front view of long narrow pillow with an indent in the center sitting on a dark couch

Best Orthopedic Neck Pillow

If the shape of this pillow doesn’t throw you off, the price will. But let me explain! If you frequently wake up with a stiff neck because you sleep on it wrong, Kanuda’s unique pillow might be helpful. It has firm contours designed to support your neck while you're lying on your back, holding your head in position. What makes this pillow unique is that it also accommodates side sleepers, with extra contours designed to cradle the side of your face, while still nudging your head into proper alignment. I was surprised how much I could roll over without moving the pillow and still feel supported.

However, if you don't think you can stick to sleeping on either your side or back, this might not be a great option for you. Unlike other pillows, this one doesn't accommodate atypical sleeping positions—you won't want to clutch it in your arms or use it to support your legs, for example.

Curvy dark blue pillow on top of orange surface with a green plant in the background

Best Travel Pillow

There’s no good place to rest your head on a plane or train, but when you need to sleep anyway, the Travelrest Nest pillow ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ) is our top recommendation. It uses sturdy memory foam so it doesn’t need to be inflated like many travel pillows, and it holds its shape remarkably well. WIRED reviewer Matt Jancer was able to use it to get a full seven hours of sleep on a long-haul flight, which is an achievement by any standard. The microfiber cloth is particularly soft, and it’s removable, so you can wash it without damaging the pillow itself.

Side view of multilayered white pillow on top of dark couch

Best for Combination Sleepers

The best pillow for side sleepers can be very different from the best pillow for back sleepers. But a lot of people (myself included) don't exclusively stick to one type of sleeping position or another. Fortunately, the Purple DreamLayer pillow provides an excellent middle ground. Rather than using adjustable fill to customize its height, this pillow comes with two foam inserts so you can get exactly the level of support you need.

The outer cover has a stretchy pocket that makes it easy to slide the inserts in and out, so adjusting the height isn't as complicated as pillows with adjustable fill. The pillow feels just the right amount of firm yet squishy thanks to the trademark Purple grid technology. The outer cover is machine-washable.

Side view or white pillow with thin blue trim along the edge sitting on a dark couch

For Big and Tall Side Sleepers

Pillows made for side sleeping can fall short if you're over six feet tall or have broad shoulders. Finding a supportive pillow can be a challenge even when you're looking at the exact type of pillow made for your sleep style. That's where the Parallel High Profile Pillow comes in. This one has a generous 2.5 inches of extra loft, making it tall enough to keep even the highest heads propped up.

Internally, it's packed hypoallergenic fiber and gel fill that I found held its shape remarkably well. If you want a firm pillow, but don't want it to press too hard into your head, this is an excellent middle ground.

Front view of white pillow with dark green trim branded Storm 2.0

Other Good Pillows

This section is a mix of pillows we've deemed as good but not great, and there are a few we haven't tested long enough for a final verdict (but we like them so far). Take a look if the above picks aren't to your tastes.

  • No More Aches Neck Pillow for $40: There's no shortage of novelty pillows, but as someone who experiences a lot of neck pain, I'm intrigued by this odd little pillow. It has a concave center for back, side, and stomach sleeping, plus an indented edge that perfectly fits your arm. I've only just gotten this one in and haven't slept a full night on it yet, but after trying it out for a quick nap and while using it to watch TV on the couch, I'm optimistic about it.
  • Bedgear Storm Pillow for $189: This pillow from Bedgear is similar to the Bedgear Flow above but without the curve for side sleepers. If you 100 percent of the time sleep on your back, this might be a better fit, but I prefer the versatility of having one curved side and one straight side.

2 stacked white pillows on offwhite background

Pick a Good Pillowcase

Finding the right pillowcase is just as important as finding the right pillow. A good pillowcase is necessary to keep your pillow from absorbing all the sweat and oils from your face. It's the part of your pillow your face touches, so it should be as soft and comfortable as possible. Here are a few things to look for:

Material: You can get pillowcases in several materials including cotton, polyester, linen, and silk. As you'll see in our Best Sheets guide , silk is smooth, stays cool, and absorbs less moisture from your hair and skin, making it one of the best materials for a pillowcase, but it can be pricey. Cotton and polyester are usually cheaper, but they can feel rougher against the face.

Thread count: Like with sheets, the thread count —namely, how many threads are in one square inch of fabric—can impact how a pillowcase feels against your skin. Higher thread counts will feel smoother but also retain more heat. A typical thread count for pillowcases is between 100 and 200, with higher-end options pushing as high as 400. But don't feel like you have to overdo it. A higher thread count doesn't necessarily mean better, so you don't have to splurge on a 1,000-thread count pillowcase.

Size (and shape): A pillowcase that's too small will slide off in the middle of the night, and a case that's too big will leave you with a bunch of excess fabric flailing around loosely. Make sure to get a pillowcase that's the right size for your pillow. We also feature a few pillows with non-standard shapes, which sometimes require their own special pillowcases to fit comfortably, so if you're buying anything other than a rectangle, be sure to consider the shape too.

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Protect Your Trip »

The 7 best travel neck pillows for 2024.

Avoid a literal pain in the neck with these expert-approved travel pillows.

The Best Travel Neck Pillows

Woman using red Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in window seat of plane.

Courtesy of Cabeau

Just like the pillow you use at home , the best neck pillow for travel is the one that makes you feel most comfortable, allowing you to relax, rest and ultimately fall asleep on the go. The difference, however, is that a travel pillow is typically used when sitting up, which means it needs to provide enough support to keep your head from bobbing.

Based on recommendations from travel experts and advice from physicians, these are the best neck pillows for travel.

  • Best Overall: Cabeau Evolution S3 on Amazon
  • Jump to features and traveler insights ↓
  • Best Affordable: MVLOC Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Long Flights: Trtl Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best Multipurpose: Huzi Infinity Pillow on Amazon
  • Best Inflatable: Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Backpacking: Marchway Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Kids: BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow on Amazon

Best Overall: Cabeau Evolution S3

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in gray and infographic against white background.

Frequent travelers praise the design of the Cabeau Evolution S3, which is made of a special dual-density memory foam. "I brought this neck pillow on 15-hour flights to and from New Zealand, and it proved to be a great investment," says Catriona Kendall , editor at U.S. News. "The pillow gave me enough support to sleep comfortably for hours, and I especially loved how I could roll it up into a small pouch and clip it to my personal item ."

Travelers also appreciate the patented seat strap system that attaches the pillow to a seat or chair headrest as well as the slim flattened back, both of which prevent the head from bobbing. The removable pillow cover, which comes in a variety of colors, is machine-washable.

Price: $39.99 or less

Best Affordable: MVLOC Travel Pillow

Travelers appreciate the support (and the price tag) of this memory foam travel pillow. An adjustable rope lock allows you to secure the pillow to your neck for maximum support and comfort. The breathable and machine-washable cloth exterior prevents overheating. This travel pillow also comes with earplugs and an eye mask for ultimate relaxation.

Price: $29.99 or less

Best for Long Flights: Trtl Travel Pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow in gray against neutral background.

Courtesy of Trtl

The patented design of the Trtl Travel Pillow – with a hidden internal neck support surrounded by soft, hypoallergenic fleece – makes it a favorite among travelers, particularly for long flights. "Something about it just hits right in a travel accessory category where nothing previously worked for me," explains Meaghan Clawsie, luxury travel advisor at Elated Escapes . "I no longer have any back or neck pain when resting on long-haul flights." Simply wrap the pillow around your neck like a scarf, secure it in place with its built-in fastener and rest your head on the support.

If you tend to overheat easily, there's also the Trtl Pillow Cool , made with Tencel fibers to keep you at a comfortable temperature; a mesh panel makes the pillow particularly breathable as well. Both pillows are machine-washable.

Price: $64.99 or less

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Best Multipurpose: Huzi Infinity Pillow

Twisted Huzi Infinity Pillow in blue against cream background.

Courtesy of Huzi Design

If you're not sold on the classic U-shaped neck pillows for travel, consider this snake-like option instead. Able to be twisted into a variety of positions, the versatile Huzi Infinity Pillow provides whatever support feels best – even if that means resting your head on the tray table for a bit. You can also wear it around your neck like a scarf for neck and back comfort (even when you're not snoozing), use it as an eye mask, or drape it over your head if you get cold or want to block out noise.

Travelers love the pillow's bamboo fabric, describing it as soft, smooth and cool. Since it's filled with polyester, the whole pillow can be tossed in the washing machine , unlike its memory foam counterparts. The Infinity Pillow is available in nearly a dozen different colors, including gray, navy and pink.

Price: $49.99 or less

Best Inflatable: Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow

Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow in blue against white background.

Courtesy of Sunany

Travelers love the H-shaped design of this inflatable pillow because it allows for use in multiple directions and supports both sides of the head and neck with a flat back. A removable hood on the pillow is a bonus: It encourages a cozy feel and prevents cold drafts from too much air conditioning. For optimal comfort, it is recommended to inflate the pillow about 80% to 90%.

A pocket for your earbud case on this travel pillow provides convenient access for listening to music, and the removable velour cover is machine-washable. The lightweight inflatable pillow can be stored in the included waterproof drawstring bag, which can also be attached to luggage. This travel neck pillow is available in black, gray and blue.

Price: $23.99 or less

Best for Backpacking: Marchway Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow

While you can often bring your pillow from home for tent camping, backpacking requires something more lightweight, such as this inflatable option by Marchway. "An inflatable pillow is a game-changer when it comes to backpacking, and an ultralight pillow can't be beat," says Leilani Osmundson , senior digital producer at U.S. News. "The Marchway pillow fits the bill: It's comfortable, packable and extremely lightweight." This pillow is designed for both back and side sleepers, and doubles as a lumbar support for everyday travels and needs. Once it's deflated, you can machine-wash the cover before folding the pillow into an included drawstring bag.

Price: $13.99 or less

Best for Kids: BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow

BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow in pink with blue hearts design against white background.

Courtesy of BCOZZY

The BCOZZY neck pillow is ideal for all travelers – including kids, with small sizes for youngsters between 3 and 7 years old, and medium options for ages 8 and 12. Travelers like the ergonomic design of the patented pillow, which supports the head and neck by propping the chin up. Overlapping pillow arms, which wrap around the neck and under the chin, can be tightened based on the level of support you need.

If you or your child is a side sleeper, fold the pillow in half, double up the sides and place it on your shoulder, leaning your head to the side. An elevated side option allows you to overlap the pillow arms on top of each other and rotate it 90 degrees to the side for double support for the neck and chin.

This travel pillow is available in a variety of colors and patterns, including light blue and pink hearts. A snap strap attaches the included travel bag to your child's luggage , and you can throw the pillow in the washing machine after your trip.

Price: $40.97 or less

Frequently Asked Questions

Experts agree a supportive pillow is essential for travel. "The biggest issue many travelers experience when sleeping on a plane is that the seats don't recline enough," explains Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a sleep/wake and performance specialist who is dual board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine. "This often results in the head being just on the brink of tipping forward – which is not a comfortable sleeping position. Because of this insufficient recline, it is important to keep padding behind the head and neck minimal to reduce the tendency for the head to tip forward."

Most travel pillows are designed to be worn around the neck, providing enough support to prevent the head from tipping forward.

When shopping for a neck pillow for travel, experts recommend considering the following factors:

Proper head support:  What's most important is ensuring your head is supported in the right places by your travel pillow – and, in particular, not being pushed forward by excessive padding. "A good pillow would provide support for side sleeping, rather than a lot of padding behind the head, which just pushes the head forward too much," says Dimitriu.

Material: Consider both the external and internal material of the pillow:

External: Chiropractic physician Eric Smith advises to make sure the material of your travel pillow is breathable and won't subject you to an overheated sleep, since one of the main reasons for moving around a lot as you sleep is getting too hot. "When your face gets too hot on one side, even if you're sleeping, you're going to move from it because it's too warm," Smith explains.

There's no real consensus on which material is best for a cool, comfy sleep – and different people will have different preferences – so Smith's advice is to try before you fly (and don't hesitate to request a refund if your chosen pillow isn't working out).

  • Internal: Memory foam pillows tend to offer more firm support – something Smith recommends for anyone, but especially older travelers. "The majority of patients I have that get older, we actually need a more firm pillow, we need a more firm bed, we need more support," Smith says. Pillows filled with microbeads mold more to the neck and head, while inflatable pillows can be adjusted to your preferences based on how much air you use to blow them up.

A travel pillow for your neck isn't considered a carry-on or personal item (and the same generally goes for small, loose items like packable jackets and umbrellas). That said, it's always best to review your airline's carry-on luggage size restrictions before traveling.

A good neck pillow for travel isn't the only key to achieving a decent sleep while in transit. "From the standpoint of evolution, we're kind of hardwired to be a little bit more on high alert in those situations," explains Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and scientist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "We're a little bit more in fight or flight mode; our brain is subconsciously scanning the environment for threats and there are new sounds and new smells."

She recommends finding elements that are relaxing to you, which might include some of the following:

  • Travel blanket: Look for something lightweight, such as the EverSnug Travel Blanket . This blanket comes with a carrying case, which can double as a pillow when the blanket is stored inside.
  • Essential or aromatherapy oils: Scents like lavender and peppermint can be especially calming.
  • Earplugs: You can buy traditional foam earplugs to block out some of the external noise, or invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones .
  • White noise app: There are a variety of free apps, or you can try a paid option like Calm (which offers a free trial).
  • Sleep mask: A sleep mask helps to block out the bright light on planes.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Walking Shoes for Travel
  • The Top Compression Socks for Travel
  • Can I Use My Own Airplane Seat Belt Extender?
  • How to Get Wheelchair Assistance at the Airport

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear

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Travel Pillow, Memory Foam, Airplane Neck Pillow


  • Our travel pillow with ergonomic design and provide multi-point support points for head, neck and chin to help you to relax and rejuvenate your neck and shoulders at rest
  • The innovative contoured, cervical, design and memory foam cradles the natural curvature of your neck, fix your neck, prevents head from falling forward, and is guaranteed to never have you waking up with any shoulder nor neck pain again
  • The memory foam neck pillow is made of high-quality high- density slow rebound memory foam for exceptional comfort and durability, it can relax your shoulder and neck
  • Keeps its shape and firmness for long term use. It is a safe and natural way to alleviate neck and shoulder pain in your rest. Beside, The memory foam pillow is easy to compress and collect in Pillow storage bag for travel

Description for Travel Pillow, Memory Foam, Airplane Neck Pillow

Have trouble falling asleep while traveling? Or are you tired of all of those neck pains and soreness? Using our travel neck pillow, keep neck pain away! Our travel pillow with ergonomic design and provide multi-point support points for the head, neck, and chin to help you to relax and rejuvenate your neck and shoulders at rest.

Specifications for Travel Pillow, Memory Foam, Airplane Neck Pillow

  • 18 January, 2024
  • 27.00 cm x 36.00 cm x 5.00 cm

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Guía turística de St. Petersburg

St Petersburg

Planning a trip to Saint Petersburg? Our travel guide contains up-to-date, personal information on everything from what to see , to when to visit , where to stay , and what to eat !

Saint Petersburg

  • General information
  • What to see
  • How to get to St Petersburg
  • Where to stay
  • Where to eat

Why visit Saint Petersburg?

Saint Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad... under any of its names, it's an elegant city with an eventful past . Built by Peter the Great in the early 18th century as a display of the power of Imperial Russia to the world , it's an important artistic and cultural center thanks to the wealth of monuments  and museums  that tell its story.

The City of Tsars and the former Russian capital, Saint Petersburg is also intrinsically linked to the water, earning it the nickname " Venice of the North " for its impressive number of canals and bridges . Lavish palaces, exquisite gardens, and some of the world's best museums complete the city's offering for locals and tourists alike.

Relive the elegance of Imperial Russia by visiting Saint Petersburg's fairy tale chateaux: Peterhof Palace , the Winter Palace , and Catherine Palace await you in all their glory. For a well-deserved break after sightseeing, stop in at a local restaurant to indulge in Russian specialties: caviar, vodka, and beef Stroganoff anyone?

From May to June, the White Nights make Saint Petersburg even more magical, with impossibly beautiful sunsets bringing almost-endless summer nights to a close.

Where to start?

If you're going to travel to Saint Petersburg and you don't know much about the city yet, the first thing to do is to dive into its legendary history - understanding the past will help you understand the present. Next, check out our practical hints and tips on traveling to the city, before discovering which of its most important museums , monuments , and attractions pique your interest.

Looking for a place to stay?

Booking your accommodation in advance is the best way to get great discounts. Our detailed guide on where to stay in Saint Petersburg  will help you decide which neighborhood you'd like to look for hotels or apartments in, and our hotel search engine will find you the best deals!

Hotels in St. Petersburg - reserve here for the best prices!

Why is our Saint Petersburg travel guide the best?

Introducing Saint Petersburg is a  city guide written by travelers for travelers , and contains personalized advice to help you make the most of your trip to the city.

All the information in this guide is valid as of April 2021. If you find any errors or have any comments, please feel free to contact us .

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